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If the tax cuts are not enough for you....

How it became a crime to be poor in America

In the United States, a system of modern peonage - essentially, a government-run loan shark operation - has been going on for years. Beginning in the 1990s, the country adopted a set of criminal justice strategies that punish poor people for their poverty. Right now in America, 10 million people, representing two-thirds of all current and former offenders in the country, owe governments a total of $50bn in accumulated fines, fees and other impositions.

The problem of "high fines and misdemeanors" exists across many parts of the country: throughout much of the south; in states ranging from Washington to Oklahoma to Colorado [...]

As a result, poor people lose their liberty and often lose their jobs, are frequently barred from a host of public benefits, may lose custody of their children, and may even lose their right to vote. Immigrants, even some with green cards, can be subject to deportation. Once incarcerated, impoverished inmates with no access to paid work are often charged for their room and board. Many debtors will carry debts to their deaths, hounded by bill collectors and new prosecutions.

[...] to understand America's new impulse to make being poor a crime, one has to follow the trail of tax cuts that began in the Reagan era, which created revenue gaps all over the country.

The anti-tax lobby told voters they would get something for nothing: the state or municipality would tighten its belt a little, it would collect big money from low-level offenders, and everything would be fine.

Deep budget cuts ensued, and the onus of paying for our justice system - from courts to law enforcement agencies and even other arms of government - began to shift to the "users" of the courts, including those least equipped to pay.

Trump or sunshine...

by das monde on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 03:05:18 AM EST

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