Friday, January 15, 2010

"Improving Public Safety" and Theft By Other Means

Local governments everywhere are doubling traffic fines and other junk fees to raise revenue, under the guise of "improving public safety." Ahem, your rapacious greed is showing....

That correspondent Andrew T. titled his report stripmining/theft by other means exemplified told me he'd read Survival+, which examines how the State (government at all levels) offers sham facades of "reform" and public safety" behind which they stripmine the remaining productive citizenry with junk fees and other "theft by other means." Here's his report from Ontario, Canada:

As a daily reader I am familiar with the concept of junk fees, levies, taxes and out-right extortion by the government that you and some other contributors have discussed. Naturally I immediately thought of this when it was announced on CBC radio that traffic fines here in Ontario were being raised. I examined the new fines and lo and behold, most of them have doubled!

As there was no explanation offered by the media reports or the government website, I wrote to the Attorney General of the Province to see if they could provide a rationale for the doubling of fines. They informed me that, despite the fact that they would issue the fines (through the police) that the Highway Traffic Act was administered by the Ministry of Transportation and I would need to direct my inquiry to them. The answer they provided was the obvious one, "public safety" was cited as the rationale for the increase. I don't buy it for a second.

Well said, Andrew, thank you. I came across a helpful diagram issued by the local government Ministry of Propaganda which depicts how public safety improves as traffic fines are dramatically increased:

I think we can all see how effective this program will be--not at increasing public safety but increasing the state/provincial government's revenues to maintain their salaries, benefits, perquisites and pensions.

The key driver here (as per the Survival+ analysis) is over-reach. Local government and its employees have over-reached; their salaries, benefits and pensions are now roughly triple what the private sector pays. Now as the economy crumbles, the protected fiefdoms of public unions and other dependents on tax revenue swag are fighting any cuts beyond the purely symbolic.

One of their primary strategies is to raise revenue without actually "raising taxes," something which might actually cause the citizenry to arise from their somnambulent absorption with cellphone apps, iPods, TV and other "entertainments."

So instead we get junk fees: surcharges, penalties, doubled or tripled traffic and parking fines, and so on.

This sounds good in theory to cash-starved bureaucracies desperate for swag (recall that 80% of local government budgets go to personnel costs: salaries, bennies and pensions), but the reality is that these stripmining measures all backfire. Not only do they not raise more money, they are fueling a deep and abiding anger in the public.

The concept of stripmining illuminates the destructive consequences of local government's rapacious greed. Once you tack on excessive penalties to simple traffic fines and enable the local authorities to impound a citizen's vehicle, he/she can no longer get to work. The local government has now pushed them into penury; they are now debt-serfs. Their means of earning money have been destroyed; now there is no income stream for the local government to tap.

In stripmining the citizenry, local government is leaving nothing behind but barren fields. Once you raise the cost of doing business via junk fees and other "theft by other means," then small businesses just fold up. You can't lose money every month for long. Once government stripmines the remaining productive citizenry, there will be no source of revenues left.

Once the over-reach extends past a certain point, the system implodes. The beams are already snapping, but local government isn't listening; it's only concern is raising more swag by whatever means are at hand.

Order Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation from your local bookseller or from or in ebook and Kindle formats. A 20% discount is available from the publisher.

Of Two Minds is now available via Kindle: Of Two Minds blog-Kindle

Thank you, Gary L. ($40), for your wonderfully generous contribution via mail to this site. I am greatly honored by your support and readership. Thank you, Sean P. ($25), for your most generous contribution to this site. I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Terms of Service

All content on this blog is provided by Trewe LLC for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.

Our Privacy Policy:

Correspondents' email is strictly confidential. This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by third-party advertising networks such as Adsense and Investing Channel may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative)
If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly. Websites and blog links on the site's blog roll are posted at my discretion.

Our Commission Policy:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission on purchases of precious metals via BullionVault. I receive no fees or compensation for any other non-advertising links or content posted
on my site.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP