This month marks the 50th anniversary of the war on drugs, an institution so ingrained that many of us grew up without ever realizing it was a policy choice. But even after five decades of gargantuan investments in policing, penalties, and prisons, fatal drug overdoses still hit an all time high last year.

Clearly, Ellen Grover argues this week, there are better ways to protect public health — and much damage to repair besides. Years ago, Joe Biden staked much of his career on the drug war. Now, Ellen argues, he must end it.

This month also marks the anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s death. The former president died 17 years ago. In OtherWords, Martha Burk analyzes his policy legacy for women, calling it a “bitter harvest.”

Meanwhile, with a crucial Senate vote coming up on the For the People Act, the Revs. Susan K. Smith and Levon C. Manzie call the voter suppression bills in states across the country an extension of Jim Crow. Voting rights are once again the civil rights issue of our time, they argue, and Black churches have a crucial role to play in protecting them.

Also this week, Jim Hightower reports on the astonishingly low tax rates paid by America’s billionaires. Jill Richardson reflects on more collaborative ways to do democracy. And Khalil Bendib worries that Biden is too afraid to take on the obvious threats to his agenda.

New This Week…

50 Years Later, End the War on Drugs | Ellen Grover
Nixon’s War on Drugs turned out to be a war on people. President Biden should end it once and for all.

Black Churches Can Lead the Way on Voting Rights | Rev. Susan K. Smith and Rev. Levon C. Manzie
This is the civil rights issue of our time, and it’s a fight we can and must win.

Reagan’s Legacy for Women | Martha Burk
The 40th president died 17 years ago this month. For women, his legacy is a bitter harvest.

Government Can Be Collaborative | Jill Richardson
We’re used to loaded talking points and bickering politicians, but that’s not the only way to make decisions in a democracy.

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and You. Which One Pays Taxes? | Jim Hightower
Leaked IRS data shows just how little billionaires pay in taxes.

Afraid of His Own Shadow | Khalil Bendib
Why won’t Biden fight these obvious threats to his agenda and presidency?

In Case You Missed It…

We Don’t Need Another Oil Pipeline | Sonali Kolhatkar
The fight over a northern Minnesota pipeline project could have global repercussions.

Make Normalization With Cuba a Priority | Medea Benjamin
If Biden doesn’t lift Trump’s harsh restrictions on the island, it may well cause the next migration crisis.

Killing to Show That Killing Is Wrong | Robert P. Alvarez
As Arizona’s push to revive Nazi-era gas executions shows, the death penalty is barbaric.

There’s No ‘Labor Shortage.’ There’s a Wage Shortage. | Jim Hightower
To find workers, there’s a free-enterprise solution right at employers’ fingertips: raise pay, improve conditions, and show respect.


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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of

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