American towns survive by fining poor people, and use debtors' prisons to make them pay


Originally published at:


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(Psst: you can raise those funds a lot quicker if you fine rich people instead. Just throwing that out there.)


“Increasing the shakedown” is pattern for government, and it often has nothing to do with real needs.

It’s a dangerous pattern, because it’s difficult to motivate taxpayers after you’ve cried wolf too many times. Once those taxpayers get a whiff of you padding your salary or pension, or alternately buying votes with borrowed money - look out. Cuz no one will ever trust you again.

I’m angry at people pushing tax cuts all the time, but understand some of the sentiment. And most of these “public servants” carry our their duties identically to they way they run their own lives - poorly.

Pretty soon, cities are rolling drunks and selling their organs…Like the most rabid cokehead in need of their fix.


We need to, (as soon as possible if not sooner), as a society - completely decouple any form of financial penalties/fines-collected from governmental operating revenue streams. Having these connected in any way is an open invitation to rampant corruption as evidenced here.

One proposal is to pool fines collected into a common fund, that is then annually redistributed to every citizen. Sort of like AK’s PFD - but with the direct effect of re-reimbursing the harmed parties - i.e. society at large, (in the case of social “crimes” like speeding tickets that have a generalized victim).


This reminded me of a report about the IRS:

and a review of the agency five years later…


The very first sentence on that page tells you the story takes place in Corinth, MISSISSIPPI.

Facts are helpful. Do better.


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