Would legalizing prostitution help the US economy?

A Nevada brothel owner says America is missing out on billions of dollars in taxable revenue.

By Bruce Kennedy Dec 13, 2012 11:54AM

Image: Couple holding hands (Corbis/Corbis)The fiscal cliff dilemma is prompting some novel ideas on how to reduce the federal deficit -- including the highly questionable suggestion of turning Uncle Sam into a pimp.

Enter Dennis Hof, owner of Nevada's Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel. Hof has proselytized for years about decriminalizing prostitution outside his state, and argues that a legal and taxed sex trade could do economic wonders.

"The federal government receives $6 billion a year now, off of liquor," he said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "The prostitution industry in America is about an $18 billion business, and none of that money goes into the federal coffers or goes to pay taxes."

With his plan, Hof says, the government would gain about $6 billion in federal income tax "from the girls" -- plus nearly $2 billion more in licensing fees.

According to the Christian Post, the international sex industry is a $30 billion a year business -- with hundreds of thousands of women, men and children coerced into a brutal and degrading life as prostitutes. 

Hof says decriminalizing prostitution takes money out of the hands of criminals, eliminates sex trafficking and combats the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. "You can't stop it," Hof told the Huffington Post. "Prohibition doesn't work and legalization can solve a lot of our problems."

But even if you put aside the obvious moral issues surrounding a decriminalized prostitution industry, there are some doubts whether it would actually reduce crime.

Some advocates look at countries like the Netherlands -- where prostitution is legal. It's even an active and publicized part of the tourist trade in Amsterdam, bringing in about $100 million a year.  But Amsterdam officials say legalization did not end crime, human trafficking, money laundering or drug abuse in the city's Red Light District.

"While legalization was supposed to turn prostitutes into self-employed taxpayers who did not need pimps for protection," Reuters reported in 2007, "the city said the industry is still dominated by criminals attracted by the 370 Euros ($484 U.S.) each woman can earn a day."

And a new academic report, looking at data from 116 countries, found a higher instance of human trafficking in countries where prostitution is legal.

"Our research suggests that in countries where prostitution is legalized, there is such a significant expansion of the prostitution market that the end result is larger reported inflows of human trafficking," said Eric Neumayer, Professor of Environment and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and co-author of the report.

"While legalizing prostitution can have positive effects on the working conditions of those legally employed in the industry, it also appears to boost the market for this fast-growing global criminal industry."

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Tags: Economy
Dec 13, 2012 6:53PM



would sell their own daughters.


pushers never care about children.


take your filth and sick addictions elsewhere, not welcome in our country.

Dec 13, 2012 6:50PM
IF the government is really kicking around this idea then it would seem to me that more than a few policticians are seeing some Heidi Fleiss types on the side.  Let's face it, most of them are smoking a joint or two a day already.  None of them give a fat rat's sorry backside about their voters.  They do not really care about getting rid of illegal immigrants ( Ronald Readan opened the gate om that issue.  All they really care ablout is getting re elected, voting themselves raises an more perks that come out of our pockets so they can stand back and call us all  lazy entitlement whores.  Yesterday one senator got caught with one of his aides who was here ilegally and selling dope!  Great picture of our leaders isn't it?  Folks we are screwed no mtter what we do or how we vote, that's the sad sorry truth of it.  We need to get rid of the euro dollar, anyone else notice that that's when Europe's finances started taking a dump?  We need to wipe out all politicicans who have been in DC for 8 years or more.  they are far too comfortable there.  Start sending all the illegals back, no ifs ands or buts about it.  The farmer needs pickers?  Fine, get the inmates out of the prisons to do the work, they will all need to learn a nw trade anyway.  Seriously, they will work for far less than illegals. 
Dec 13, 2012 6:49PM
I am always intrigued by the mentality in Nevada.  On one hand, Nevada has some of the harshest state penalties for the use of marijuana, yet it is legal there to gamble away your life savings, or to buy someone's time who is selling themselves for sex.  Guess it's just one of those things that makes you go, "Huh?"
Dec 13, 2012 6:48PM
LEgalize drugs and tax the hell outof them... Do not prostitute women. If they choose it they should not be taxed. The money should be just for them,
Dec 13, 2012 6:46PM
How many of you geniuses out there, who want to legalize prostitution, would like to have YOUR DAUGHTER consider it as a career option????  Think about it for a minute.
Dec 13, 2012 6:44PM

How silly. The answer is to decriminaize MJ, Cocaine, and Heroin and sell it in controlled settings as alcohol used to be. You would get a lot of tax money--Fed and State, empty out so many prison cells the annual savings would be in the billions, and put the drug cartels and gangs out of business.


We have never had a shot at winning the war against drugs, so call it a victory and end it.



Dec 13, 2012 6:43PM

If a man needs to go to a prostitute, he is a loser and if he gets an STD, he deserves it.

There are plenty of nice women in America who want a committed, loving relationship with

a man who is loyal, honest and decent.  No mother would encourage her daughter to be

a prostitute.  Most women who become prostitutes do it for drug money and demean

themselves and do not live joyful lives.

Dec 13, 2012 6:42PM
Legalizing prostitution would definitely increase tax revenues, but that's not going to help the economy. The federal government could confiscate the money and assets of every citizen in the U.S. and still not have enough to keep up with their spending, so hooker-generated tax revenue would be a mere pittance. And prostitution would join the ranks of video gaming, iEverything, movies, and "reality" T.V. as a type of entertainment on which people can p!$$ away their money instead of saving and investing.
Dec 13, 2012 6:39PM

With his plan, Hof says, the government would gain about $6 billion in federal income tax "from the girls" -- plus nearly $2 billion more in licensing fees.


OK. That's $8 billion, with pie-in-the-sky preductions. But the deficit is $1,000 BILLION per year!  Still got $992 BILLION to go.  You don't get there with this stuff.


It's a SPENDING problem.

Dec 13, 2012 6:38PM

As a christian I believe it's wrong. But here in America being a christian seems to be wrong. God never changes and Prostitution will always be a sin we commit against our bodies. It will cause more People to Fornicate and commit Adultery without looking at the Spiritual consequences. Legalizing prostitution will not solve or help the economy in anyway possible. Choosing to Obey Jesus would help the economy.

Dec 13, 2012 6:37PM
taxing the sale of pot sounds like an even better idea.
Dec 13, 2012 6:37PM
I agree with Dennis. Prostitution and drugs should be legal and taxed.
Dec 13, 2012 6:37PM
There is nothing like a piece of good warm coochie to soothe the soul. Crime would go way down for a while then SPIKE back up because people would get addicted to the coochie, and start robbing folks again. I say regulate the coochie, and don't tax it.
Dec 13, 2012 6:37PM
Sounds great but it would totally kill the porn industry. Lol
Dec 13, 2012 6:34PM
okay it may generate some revenue AKA used to be called taxes until Obama became Pres.
But I think there are two other steps that should be explored
raising NOT income taxes on the "rich" but capital gains taxes on the "rich"
I also think ZERO tax payer subsidies for ILLEGAL ALIENS
Soy Latino, mis padres came legally and yours should have too

America has to be the only Place on Earth that Allows anything.............People will be marrying thier Dogs next!
Dec 13, 2012 6:30PM
You guys are so screwed up you couldn't get it in a Barack Obama legalized whore house.  His sexcretary of prostitution would be authorized to regulate how often and in what manner and what acts would be authorized so you kinky people would need to go outside the law to get what should be constitutionally yours.  A pricing structure would be established according to the regulations.  I might suggest $50 for a .........; $100 for a ..........., and $250 for a .........around ......... .   An excise tax of 25% would be established but for high income earners ($200K per individual or $250K for couples) the excise tax could be as high as 38%. 
Dec 13, 2012 6:30PM
Gosh, whoever wrote this has the mind of a pimp.
Dec 13, 2012 6:30PM
Well they screwed us all the way into this problem.  Now they think they can screw their way out of this problem.  Our government needs to be our enemies and we need to start all over.
Dec 13, 2012 6:30PM

all those big hotels in vegas   would be really rock'in........room service  please


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