Posts Tagged ‘Prostitution’


State Run Vice

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

So Massachusetts appears to be on its way towards legalizing casino gambling. The state will apparently be giving out three licenses for casinos in state. This is the wrong approach. These three casinos will become a source of graft and corruption in the state, by virtue of the fact that there are so few of them. If you want to legalize gambling in state, better to offer to let every bar in the state operate slots and video poker machines. This will diffuse gambling in-state enough such that there won’t be just three large companies to tap for money by threatening periodically. But part of me think that the whole point is to create a large piggy bank for retiring politicians in-state, in which case my suggestion is moot.

But since we’re considering legalizing new forms of vice in order to raise revenue, let’s consider two forms of vice that could be legalized and be producing revenue for the state in less than a year’s time, unlike the casinos currently under consideration. And after all, that is what all this is ostensibly supposed to be about, raising revenue for the state.

State run monopolies on vice are nothing new. Many states monopolize liquor sales as New Hampshire does. And most states have state run lotteries, Massachusetts included. So I would propose state run monopolies on the other two major vices currently illegal in the state, marijuana and prostitution. Let’s discuss how I would see each of these playing out:

  • Marijuana: I propose the state manufacture and wholesale marijuana cigarettes. Let farmers grow the stuff in-state, but make the state the only legal customer. The state can then manufacture cigarettes and sell them to packaged liquor stores for sale to the general public. Only allow Massachusetts residents showing ID to purchase them.

    Done right, the State could be making money on this plan by spring. How much money could they be making? The price for weed in Massachusetts currently appears to be several hundred dollars per ounce. Let’s say the retail price to the consumer is about $100 per pack of 20 cigarettes. 20% of that goes to the retail establishment, and 20% goes to the cost of manufacture. That would leave $60/pack for the state. I think we can conservatively estimate that the State would sell 1 million packs per year, yielding $60 million in revenue to the state. Immediately.

    The state could mandate a certain potency per cigarette, ensuring that people who are using it medicinally can accurately dose themselves. And they would probably have to re-criminalize marijuana purchased outside legal avenues. I would also limit consumption to within one’s own home and backyard. Finally, because everything from the growing, to production to consumption is done in-state, this shouldn’t fall within the federal jurisdiction. And to the extent the federal government wants to challenge it, they would have to challenge the state directly, as the manufacturer and wholesaler of the product. I think it would set up a very interesting court challenge, assuming the federal government didn’t just decide to ignore Massachusetts, which I think it would be in their best interest to do.

  • Prostitution: As evidenced by the Markoff affair and the countless brothels which seem to be raided on a near daily basis in the state, prostitution is alive and well in the state of Massachusetts. Prostitution provides an excellent opportunity for the State to generate revenue, and quickly.

    What I propose is that the State open and operate brothels of its own. This is not unheard of: in ancient Rome the state ran brothels (free of charge to citizens). Given the large number of retail vacancies across the state, the state could likely sign long term leases in prime locations across the state. Buildout would be simple, just some rooms with beds and a laundry. Station a cop at each one, test the girls for STDs, and guarantee privacy for johns.

    Let’s try to put some numbers around this. Let’s say that the state opened 5 brothels to start, each one with 5 bedrooms. Each encounter is $300, split 50/50 between the girl and the state. Assume that each room handles 8 customers/day. That’s 8*5*5*360*150=$10.8 million. Hiring the 5 cops plus rent plus cleaning and drug and disease tests would cost something. But one could easily see how $10 million of revenues to the state could be easily achieved. Immediately.

So conservatively, my plan would raise $70 million annually for the state, starting say 6 months from now. It would provide a legal alternative to obtaining what there is already demand for, thus reducing the need to pay violent criminals for weed and sexual services. So presumably crime would decrease as well. What’s not to like? I mean, it’s not as if marijuana and prostitution don’t already exist within the state.

Casino proponents believe that they will generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for the state. I suspect they are off by an order of magnitude. And regardless, they are counting on $1/2 billion investments to build these things, in a recession no less. My plan is conservative, and could easily net a lot more than I projected. And the cost to implement and try it out is minimal. So who’s with me?


A Few Thoughts On Sanford

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I have just a few, lemme get them out:

  • It’s weird and creepy that he sparked up a long distance Internet romance. Seriously, I’m a little weirded out by that.
  • It looks like his marriage was already falling apart. Sanford and his wife were vacationing separately. This shit happens, and it’s unfortunate. It’s also why one doesn’t go around moralizing about other people’s homes, especially as a politician.
  • We haven’t had a presidential election that didn’t involve a divorced candidate since 2000. Before that it was 1993. And before that it had been 1988, and before that 1976. I don’t think that what appears to be Sanford’s impending divorce will necessarily preclude him from a Presidential run, though it may preclude him from getting evangelical support in the primaries.
  • It would appear that the South Carolina Republican Lieutenant Governor AndrĂ© Bauer ratted him out. But to what end? Sanford is term limited. Whatever their past differences, this is not exactly the time for Republicans to be turning their firing squads on each other. The Lt Gov needs a serious lashing from party higher-ups.
  • As of right now, Sarah Palin is the only contender for the Republican nomination in 2012. Not sure what to make of that. On the one hand, this may make her nomination easier. On the other hand, the attacks on her and her family will likely only intensify as a result of what appears to be Sanford’s dropping out of contention. As for me, I should hope there’s more than one option in candidates next go-around.
  • One final thing: I believe that one reason why men in particular get disgusted with politicians who engage in dalliances is that they question the value of the “other woman”. In Clinton’s case, Lewinsky was overweight and not very attractive, which engendered disgust in him (“You mean THAT’S the best you can do? You cheated on your wife to get THAT?”). In Spitzer’s case it wasn’t just that she was a prostitute but that she was a ridiculously over priced prostitute (“You paid WHAT???”). Sanford may be able to redeem himself if his Argentine girlfriend is sufficiently good looking, much like Giuliani did.

I think that’s it.

UPDATE: Emails between Sanford and his lover have been published. I’m assuming neither of them released the emails. Seems to me there is a clear privacy issue here, if not a copyright issue…


Prostitution (And Other Classifieds) To Move From Craigslist To Twitter

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

This whole business about the Craigslist killer has got me thinking about prostitution and Craigslist. Craigslist is simply not the best means of advertising for prostitution, and I predict that at some point in the next two years, it will largely migrate from Craigslist to Twitter. In fact, other classified advertisements may move there as well.

Craigslist has just started cooperating with state AGs to require credit card numbers for posting sex ads:

Just last November, Craigslist entered into an agreement with 40 state attorneys general to eliminate some of the anonymity by requiring credit cards to post these erotic ads.

This will cause prostitutes to scatter, first perhaps to other sections of Craigslist such as personals, and eventually, to someplace new. I think Twitter is the ideal location for advertising these services.

Twitter has all the necessary components for advertising such services: relative anonymitity, location awareness (should you choose to fill it in), and hash tags that allow for key terms like #w4m and #fs and a host of other code words used in advertising prostitution services. I know that iPhone apps such as TwitterFon and Twinkle specifically allow one to search for tags within one’s general vicinity too. These features alone make it suitable for classified ads (and maybe even as a competitor to eBay). Add TwitPic in the mix for pictures of what you’re getting and you’re off to the races.

But Twitter offers a protection against the likes of the Craigslist Killer that other services do not: social networking. At a minimum, prostitutes (or others) who regularly offer services over Twitter can network together and screen regulars with each other by direct messaging. In such a world, the first time the Craigslist Killer misbehaves, or tries tying up a prostitute to rob her, or is even a cop trying to bust the prostitute, he will have trouble because his Twitter identity will become known to everyone operating within that network.

Many technologies are pioneered by adult services, including the VCR, DVD’s and Internet webcams. I would look to prostitutes to lead the way on this, with others eventually posting classified ads on their Twitter accounts. There’s no need for the cumbersome list of cities and categories that Craigslist offers, and I predict that in a few years it will look as quaint as, well, I’m coming up blank at the moment, need more coffee. But trust me, it will seem quaint and old fashioned.

In fact, a quick Twitter search shows the process has already begun.