Friday, March 07, 2008

Mass Incarceration and the Liberal

Insights into the politics of crime from Doug at this permalink

Recent ideas for reform include asset forfeiture for sex crimes. I happen to think that this would be a solution worse than the problem it seeks to solve, as with registries. Money isn't a motivating factor in this type of crime, in contrast to the drug trade.

But whether I am "liberal" or "conservative" on this point is an intriguing question.

Crime is obviously not a good thing and over-incarceration (and over punishment) is even worse than the alternative. We have definitely forgotten the old saw that it is "better to let ten guilty go free than to convict one innocent man".

So in the spirit of conservation, liberation, AND bipartisanship let's reach across the aisle and return to the mindset of the old saw. All it takes is budget cutting. Cut the crime fighting budget. Period. It's just that simple. I will offer that this is definitely a fiscally conservative position in addition to being socially conservative.

Even so, I think of myself as a "liberal" these days because I'm more libertarian than not, and I agree with redistributing wealth up to a point and disagree with a system that lets the uber rich abuse the rest of us just because they can. I say this tongue in cheek but have observed that the recent period of "Republican" rule has allowed exactly this type of abuse to occur, almost unfettered. It would have been unfettered if the rich had their way.

Examples in point: gasoline prices, home prices (mortgage abuse). These two elements of the economy have almost single handedly produced the current recessionary market in my view and both could easily have been avoided. Both gasoline and homes are akin to "utilities" or necessaries that require a robust regulatory oversight.

So I have just one question. How did we turn a budget surplus 8 years ago into massive deficits and recession. Maybe even stagflation. OMG I'd love to blame the liberals for this as well as for overincarceration, but I think I'd be wrong.

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