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posted on 03 January 2017

The Long-Term Solution To Rampant Crime. No, Not Cracking Down On Criminals.

by Rodger Malcolm Mitchell, www.nofica.com

Admit it. You would like to snuggle up to those who are richer and more powerful than you, and you would like to distance yourself from those who are poorer and less influential. It’s a comfort thing.

The wider the Gap between you and those “below" you, the greater is your comfort and sense of security.

If a well-dressed stranger approaches you on the street, or knocks on your door, you find it more enjoyable dealing with him, than you would with a raggedy stranger. Be honest. It’s true.

Judges are people. They feel the same way. My sensing is that given any particular crime, the rich and influential receive lighter sentences than the poor and unimportant, not only because they have better lawyers, but because they represent a lesser emotional threat.

Emotions are more powerful than reason. And that passionate urge to widen the Gap between us and the poorer - to distance their dirty bodies, hovels, and morals from us - this urge which has been elevated to an approved system, guarantees growing criminality in our society.

For example, see Rare look at youth post detention is bleak: Racial and ethnic disparities central to poor outcomes following juvenile detention (December 19, 2016, Northwestern University):

Summary: A new study offers a bleak assessment in a rare look at the outcomes of delinquent youth five and 12 years after juvenile detention.

Central to poor outcomes for the youth post-detention are stark and persistent racial, ethnic and gender disparities, according to the massive study that began in the mid-1990s.

Before we move on to some of the specifics of this study, let’s remember a few things:

  1. The brains of young people are not fully developed, particularly with regard to anticipating future consequences of one’s actions. Ask a young person why he/she did something obviously stupid, and you likely will see a shrug of the shoulders and the response, “I don’t know." And it’s the truth. Heis brain really doesn’t know.

  2. That being the case, the prospect of incarceration does not act as a serious deterrent to crime - at least for young, poor children. They are not shocked by the prospect of jail, especially since they don’t visualize themselves being caught and going to jail. And anyway, they know people who have been, or are in, jail, so it’s not seen as a strange and fearsome event.

African-American males fared the worst, with lives characterized by incarceration, criminal activity and few positive outcomes.

Hispanic males functioned more poorly overall than non-Hispanic white males. Females, however, functioned significantly better than males in nearly every domain, according to the report.

Researchers assessed the achievement of eight positive outcomes: educational attainment, residential independence, gainful activity, desistance from criminal activity, mental health, abstaining from substance abuse, interpersonal functioning and parenting responsibility.

Karen M. Abram, the study’s first author and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said many delinquent youth are at great risk for poor outcomes in adulthood because of histories of profound trauma and loss, and limited social support, adult guidance and academic success.

The cycle of disadvantage may be most profound for racial/ethnic minorities who have fewer resources and opportunities to fulfill adult responsibilities.

Many middle and upper-class kids perpetrate delinquent acts but may not suffer the same consequences, said Linda Teplin, senior author of the study.

“Wealthier families are more likely to be able to afford treatment if their kids use drugs," added Teplin, the Owen L. Coon Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Health Disparities and Public Policy Program at Feinberg. “So their children might never be arrested and incarcerated."

Additional findings (12 years after detention)

  • Only half of the participants had a high school degree or equivalent.

  • One-fifth of males and one-third of females were working full time or in school.

  • Non-Hispanic whites had more than five times the odds of gainful activity than African-Americans and more than two times the odds than Hispanics.

  • African-Americans and Hispanics were more likely to abstain from substance abuse compared with non-Hispanic whites.

The findings, the authors said, underscore that for delinquent youth to succeed, society must help them to not only desist from crime but to overcome barriers to social stability and employment.

“Our findings highlight the need to address racial and ethnic disparities, because who gets arrested and detained? It’s poor kids," Teplin said. “And disproportionately racial and ethnic minorities."

In short, poverty leads to crime and jail, while crime and jail lead to poverty, sucking children down into a never-ending whirlpool of failure.

The problems of poverty and crime are so intertwined, there can be no long-term solution to one without a long-term solution to the other.

Thus, punishment cannot prevent crime, and in fact, it may exacerbate it. Try finding a job once you have been convicted of a crime, and try living honestly without a job.

Yet, our first reaction to crime is to elect someone who claims to be “tough on crime." He promises to hunt down and jail criminals for longer periods, not because jail has proved to be an effective deterrent, but rather as a method to punish, to extract our retribution on criminals for taking away our feelings of security.

When someone is a victim of a crime, they usually say, “I want justice." No, what they want is vengeance. They have been hurt, and now they want to hurt someone.

Applying the whip is our vengeance - our way we widen the Gap between “them" and “us."

The long-term solution to crime - or at least to the amelioration of crime - is The Ten Steps to Prosperity (below).

The Ten Steps are not, as some may tell you, a matter of rewarding sloth or evil-doing. They are the first steps in reducing crime and making your life safer.

Consider the Ten Steps an insurance policy for your own wellbeing. And this insurance policy, like all Monetarily Sovereign government spending, won’t cost you a cent. No new taxes necessary.

The Ten Steps: Free protection from crime: Now that’s a good deal, isn’t it.


Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )

Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:

  • FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and

  • The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.

2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE - PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE - FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )

This article addresses the questions:

  • Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?

  • Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?"

  • How much would it cost taxpayers?

  • Who opposes it?"

3. PROVIDE AN ANNUAL ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.

This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012

MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) - “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?" Thursday, Jan 12 2012

Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012

“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG" Saturday, Jun 2 2012

Economic growth should include the “bottom" 99.9%, not just the 0.1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.

4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE: Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans

Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.

Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.

An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.

5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL

Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.

If a young person’s “job" is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.

6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES

Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).

Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.

7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.

Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.

8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “0.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)

There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.

But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level over a period of, say, 20 years, he must have been earning an average of $3.5 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $3.5 million a year. Unreasonable.

9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money"?)

Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts - especially when multiplied by a profit motive.

Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.

10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies - Browse the agencies). See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the 0.1%.

Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

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