By Nathan Barton
In my commentary on Texas, I discuss a plan whereby cops would be allowed to have stopped motorists pay their fines by credit card directly to the cop, to avoid going to court (or even jail). Sadly, in many states, cops skip the credit card and go straight for the cash, the contents of the car, and even the car itself. This “civil forfeiture” is a practice that was theoretically outlawed by the US Constitution, but has grown to be an even greater menace than ever before in English-speaking countries (unlike French- or Spanish- or German-speaking countries).
It is about the money, of course. The US DOJ has agreements with local police agencies to let the agencies get wealthy off forfeiture for the property “committing” federal crimes.
But forfeiture is not the only thing that is “about the money.” Consider a couple of stories.
Ferguson (MO) is back in the news: the city is about a million short in their $18 million dollar annual budget and plans to get part of it by increasing fines and making it easier for the cops to issue the tickets and collect the fines. Wonder how much of their increased budget is due to the riots and protests caused by the city’s failure to handle the shooting of Brown in a reasonable manner? Wonder if they will do something like one city where the fine for dog poop being left on the sidewalk went from $25 to $250 because of an error in the signs? Ferguson’s number-two source of income is already traffic fines: robber barons indeed.
Mama’s Note: And if drastically increased “fines” don’t spur even more protests and civic action, the people and their government deserve each other.
Colleges, including U-Va., rarely expel attackers after sex assaults. Instead, federal data suggest that students receive minor penalties and can finish their studies. Is this creeping Islam in the colleges (remember that under Shari’a law, rape can only be proved by eyewitness accounts of four men or eight women (not counting the supposed victim). Frankly, I think it is again about the money: greed. Someone convicted of rape, even if just put in jail, isn’t paying tuition and fees, but the minor penalties can delay them one or two semesters and end up letting the schools collect MORE tuition and fees, and even more dorm rent. No proof of anything, but a definite whiff of corruption here. (To me, rape is a hanging offense: the perp should dance the Danny Deever in front of the victim and her and HIS family and HIS comrades or buddies or neighbors. But of course, dead rapists can’t pay for tuition, eh?)
Mama’s Note: This society would have to clearly define “rape” for this to work, of course. Right now it can mean anything from assault at the point of a weapon or other overwhelming force (actual rape) to sleeper’s remorse the next day. When a mere change of mind and irresponsible behavior on the part of women is called rape, there is no path to justice.
The ideal solution, naturally, is for both men and women to take serious personal responsibility for their choices and actions, be capable – both emotionally and tooled up – to defend themselves against being forced, and to accept the consequences of ALL their decisions. A rapist who is shot in the process of attacking someone isn’t going to need a necktie party.
Keeping this greed in mind, it should come as no surprise that as gasoline prices continue to drop ($1.989 in Rapid City!!! Amazing!), that the politicians and the do-gooders and the statist-worshippers are demanding that NOW is the time to raise fuel taxes at the state and federal level. And not just a few pennies per gallon (as is happening in North Carolina the beginning of 2015).
Look at a few opinion pieces and stories: Raise the gasoline tax (mySanAntonio.com-Dec 16, 2014) “It is time for a game-changing, bold move. raise gasoline taxes by $1 a gallon. The action will have lots of benefits.” Jay Evensen: Should Utah raise its gas tax? No, look for alternatives (Deseret News-December 17, 2014) “Utah hasn’t raised its gasoline tax since 1997. A lot has happened since then. Inflation has reduced the value of the 24.5 cent-a-gallon tax to …” GOP Leaders: Gas Tax Hike Could Fuel Fixes To Bad Roads And …(NPR-Dec 8, 2014) “So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. … so they’re considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their …”Could cheap US gas lead to higher taxes? (CBS News-Dec 9, 2014) and many more.
Fortunately, it seems that people are at least aware of this (especially after that WONDERFUL deal in Congress last week). Latest Poll: Vast Majority Oppose Gas Tax Increase (The New American-Dec 17, 2014) “A new poll from Benson Strategy Group confirms not only that most Americans don’t want an increase in their gasoline taxes…”. Should Utah raise its gas tax? No, look for alternatives (Deseret News-19 hours ago). Nearly 60 percent of NJ residents oppose gas tax (NJ.com-Dec 16, 2014), “Nearly six in 10 New Jersey residents (56 percent) are against raising the state’s gas tax, which funds road projects, as more than …” They are saying that roads are fine. Of course, the contractors and their associations are pushing for new taxes and new funding, even if part of it goes to roadside statues and mass transit. Theft by government NEVER stops.
Salon, Bill Moyer and many, many others LOVE to condemn “greedy business” and “greedy capitalists.” The mobs of Ferguson and “Don’t shoot me” and “I can’t breathe” love to attack the property of “greedy business owners.” But the real greed is found in governments, and in the leaders of governments.