Monday, January 12, 2009

Democratic governments use punishment as revenue


The economy is in the toilet. So do yourself a favor and ease up on the accelerator.

That's the indirect message of a recent study by two economists, who found that when government revenues dry up, police write more speeding tickets. After analyzing 14 years of data in North Carolina, the pair found that for every 1 percent drop in government revenue, the number of traffic tickets issued per capita increases by 30 percent the following year.

Wagner said the study reinforced a theory held universally by economists: Incentives matter.

“If local governments are somehow involved in the revenue that gets generated, there's an incentive to get more revenue,” Wagner said.

The Charlotte Observer


It works like this: democratic governments cannot face unpopular truths.

So they create an illusion, take a vote, and are short the money to both do the job they're supposed to and put up with all the entitlements, bureaucracy, nepotism, etc.

So they invent a solution: blame someone else, and take money from them. Suddenly a mom 5 mph over the line becomes a "speeder," and we can make her pay for it.

As the budget gets tighter, departments stonewall on new acquisitions, which locks them up unless they can generate revenue. So back to that blamed group, from whom we take more money, and justify it with moral pretense. TA-DA!

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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