nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Government, the poor, and driver's licenses

If you get caught drinking and driving in Wisconsin, and it's your first offense, you lose your license for nine months. For a hit and run, the punishment is suspension for one year.

But if you don't pay a ticket for a minor driving offense, such as driving with a broken tail light, you can lose your license for two years.

"It's an incredible policy," says John Pawasarat of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. It's "a policy of punishing people who can't pay their fines."

The practice – repeated in states across the country – is mostly impacting the poor and creating a spiral of bad consequences.

Anyone know how driver license suspensions are handled in countries other than the US?

More about how normal operations of the US government keeps a good many people trapped in poverty-- basically escalating fines and jail time (and fines for being in jail) for minor offenses.

There are a good many people who mistrust business much more than they mistrust government-- the arguments seems to be that you have better tools for changing government than you have for changing businesses, and that government is motivated by the public good (do I have that part right?) while business is motivated by the desire for profit.

I see two problems with this argument-- one is comparing businesses (in a range between the worst businesses and real world business in general) to a somewhat idealized vision of government, and the other is neglecting the fact that while there are more tools for changing government, in the short and medium run, it's easier to get away from a business. Also, governments specialize in violence more than businesses do. Okay, more than two problems. If you find dealing in money somewhat revolting, it might be worth considering that while governments don't exactly make a profit, they still have a streak of trying to maximize revenue.

As you may gather, I'm not fond of government. However, I'm inclined to think my emotions are not entirely well-calibrated on the issue. What I believe rationally is that government and business are the only methods the human race has developed for doing large projects, and the seven billion of us are dependent on large projects. Neither government nor business are reliably benevolent, but we can't live without them.

Neither of them is completely evil, either.

I wouldn't mind (at least I don't think I would mind) if the world switched over to something friendlier and less hierarchical, but no one has figured out how to make that work stably and on a large scale, and not for lack of trying.

I've wondered whether the steady drizzle of contempt for government (from one set of people) and for business (pretty much from another set of people) discourages conscientious people from going into business and government and/or from being ambitious to do much in business or government.

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