Thursday, August 26, 2010
Money-Laundering in the Post
The Washington Post's story on the failure of even redoubled efforts to stop the illicit cash flow from the US to Mexico is a bit depressing, but not too surprising (although I would have guessed that authorities nab more than 1 percent of the drug cash flow). If we can't stop the weapons or drugs from crossing the border, what makes us think we will have better luck with cash, which isn't in and of itself contraband. We might be able to do a better job tracking down big chunks of cash, which would force the narcos to pay more "ants" to bring smaller amounts across the border, not unlike the way weapons are moved. That would likely mean a smaller total sum of cash in the hands of the drug bosses, but it also likely means more total people earning cash from the drug trade, so it's not clear that such would be a positive outcome. In any event, it seems unlikely that we will be able to up our cash confiscation rate to even such a modest number as, say, 20 percent at any time in the near future. Which means that at some point we should conclude that stopping the cash flow, while it would be an enormous help were it possible, is not the best use of our resources.