Would legalizing prostitution help the US economy?
A Nevada brothel owner says America is missing out on billions of dollars in taxable revenue.
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."
More from Money Now
This needs to be done. It will give men a little more equal footing in the sexual arena and diminish the tyranny of women. Along with that, weed needs to be legalized and taxed. This war on drugs is counterproductive.
It would be ashame for the United States to stoop that low. This country has gone a way from the very principles it was founded on. However there are those who insist that we go back and relive the times of Babel. Is this what these United States want? I should say not in the least.
I can tell you how to get out of debt. Stop spending money that has no meaning. Did it help that all Americans paid all the big banks out of debt? Foot no! However, President Obama is still acting like a child. "I am going to have my way or I am going to tell on you!" Just tax the rich to death. Those making over $1,000,000 a year. Make their investment taxes about 35% +14%. That equals 49%. Quit taxing small business owners to death. Leave others tax levies in place. And what the Senate and Congress needs to do is keep a tally on the President and Vice President on the mistakes they make. We the people deserve better. This was a clear message by all the people who protest to leave the United States. Did all you notice that all the states that have Federal Mints in them were on the leave list? Wake up and smell the coffe, Mr. President. There wer many Democratic State wanting to leave too. Wht started with a joke over the gun control ends with many petitions of states having more than enough registered signed voters wanting to leave.
I think we should make Nancy Pelosi the first prostitute on the payroll.
I've read about 20 comments below, and I find it interesting how people are thinking about this. I think the only really legitimate reasons for legalization would be the tax income, and better working conditions. One person said that legalizing it would basically put us in the same category as Soddom and Gomorroah. Personally, I think we passed them a long time ago. Morality in this country is now frowned upon, and decency is a thing of the past. The society I grew up in would never have allowed Victoria's Secret models doing a live show on TV. We don't know anymore how to be embarassed. My views on the subject are unpopular, because I come at it from a Christian perspective. I think legalizing gay marriages, prostitution, abortion.....they pretty much fall into the same category with me. Sin is sin is sin.....period. We've unfortunately come to a point in society where that makes very little difference anymore. I'd pack my bags and move to a place more in line with morality, but I'm not sure there is any place out there that fits the bill any more. Its a very sad thing that our world has deteriorated so badly.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the Tuesday session near their lows with the Russell 2000 (-1.0%) leading the slide. The S&P 500 lost 0.5% with nine sectors ending in the red.
Equities indices started the day with modest gains and spent the first two hours of action in the neighborhood of their flat lines. Although the early trade lacked clear sector leadership, that could have been overlooked due to the strength among heavily-weighted sectors like health care (-0.3%), ... More
More Market News
The apparel chain takes a hard hit after blaming the weather for its quarterly sales decline. But cold temperatures don't explain the drop in full-year sales as well.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'