Black Lives Matter, small traffic fines and Scandinavia?

One reason there is inequality with respect to race and law enforcement is that black people have more encounters with law enforcement, even among minor matters (such as speeding tickets). One reason for this: black poverty rates are higher and a smaller percentage of poor people can pay traffic fines. Yeah, I don’t like a 100.00 dollar speeding ticket but it won’t break me. I’ll grumble and pay it.

Others don’t have that luxury; that leads to more fines, more traffic stops, etc. Sometimes poverty can turn reasonably honest people into criminals.

That got me to thinking about the way that many Scandinavian countries (including Finland) handle speeding tickets: there, the fine is based on income. Yes, a 100.00 dollar ticket is painful, but manageable for me (about the right amount). It could break a poor person and it would be a “Monopoly Money” fine for a very rich person.

Would this be politically viable in the United States? Yeah; it does make me think about “what does fair” mean. But I’d quietly support such an option.


August 7, 2016 - Posted by | poverty, social/political | ,

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