Krugman Turns Over A Rock

and finds creepy things underneath, in particular, all the unsavory things in which the lobbying group ALEC is involved. His conclusion is worth repeating, but you really should read both the blog post and the column (the two links above) in their entirety:

Yet that’s not all; you have to think about the interests of the penal-industrial complex — prison operators, bail-bond companies and more. (The American Bail Coalition has publicly described ALEC as its “life preserver.”) This complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons, whether it’s exaggerated fear of racial minorities or Arizona’s draconian immigration law, a law that followed an ALEC template almost verbatim.

Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.

ALEC is not just another conservative lobby funded by the Kochs and large corporations: ALEC authors legislation, complete, ready for submission to state legislatures, and its agenda is not merely conservative but fear-mongering and radical in its scope. The more light that can be shone on what ALEC has been doing, largely silently, mostly behind closed doors, the better off we will be. If we do not succeed in at least taking the edge off the success of their agenda, we can expect our incarceration rate, already the highest in the world, to grow at an accelerated rate, to the advantage only of those invested in the prison-industrial complex. Keep your eyes open regarding what your state legislature is doing!

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