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@renegade09: I *think* what you're maybe trying to say is that speed cameras are regressive because they don't take account of a user's ability to pay? But nobody has to pay a camera fine, as long as they obey the law, right?

Right.

Tax regressiveness has little to do with my (albeit obscurely) made point. Who is paying the city bills? Speeders, who's only incentive is to minimize fines, or wage-earning taxpaying residents, who are interested in the well-being of the city? And the civil servants who work for this money -- who are they serving?

Using speeders to pay for a substantial portion of the DC's services to its taxpayers will directly lead to a debasement of those services. Taxes are a moral obligation of citizenship, to pay for schools, transportation, law enforcement, etc. Speeders have no such obligation. The distinction is crucial. When I meet with my children's teacher, I go with the satisfaction that I paid their salaries. Akin to jury duty, squarely understood and paid taxes are an essential part of civil society.

The corrosion will of services will spread to other functions -- for example, it will encourage the government to entrap drivers to boost revenue. Many people have noted a 5 mph drop in the speed limit immediately before a speed camera; revenue certainly would be increased on the inattentive by 10 mph drop. More generally the idea of enforcing traffic laws to promote road safety morphs into a cynical game of cat-and-mouse over excessive fines that are not proportional to the offense.

I don't want to live in such a place.

by goldfish on Nov 19, 2012 8:46 pm • linkreport

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