Sunday, March 05, 2006

Make Em Pay!!!

Tonight I was reading my sociology textbook (Introduction to Sociology, edited by Henry L. Tischler) and was intrigued by the following line: "The government has estimated that white-collar crimes cost more than $40 billion a year - more than 10 times the total amount of all reported thefts and more than 250 times the amount taken in all bank robberies" (page 195). Unfortunately, the textbook did not cite their source; however, I have heard similar statistics about how "white-collar" crime is more costly than "blue-collar" crime. It is also a fact that people who commit white-collar crime are more likely to get let off the hook, and not go to jail. Considering the costs to employees at companies and to society it is a crime that we let this bias perpetuate. Therefore, I submit the following solution, which I believe will dramatically reduce "white-collar" crime.

The key is that we hit them where it hurts -- in their pocketbooks!!! The fine for any non-violent crime "white-collar" crime -- such as tax fraud, misrepresenting company accounts, insurance fraud, election fraud, embezzlement, and anything that involves cheating w/ money -- should be extraordinarily high. The fine should be so high that anyone thinking about cooking the books or cheating on their taxes will think twice. I propose that the government impose a fine of at least 1/3 of the offender's total wealth. The only assets that would be immune are 1 home and 1 car, and an estimated number for basic necessities like clothes, furniture, and appliances. If the offender only has one car and one home, then the fine will be 1/3 of one years salary, and the person would have to give back to their company any bonuses earned. In addition the offender would NOT go to jail unless they have committed multiple offenses. This stipulation will help with our overcrowded prisons. Furthermore, the fine for a second offense could come with a fine that would be even heftier than the first, say like 1/2 of total wealth. Then on a 3rd offense the person needs to just be locked away, because they are an obvious threat and burden to society.

The money from the fines can be used for fixing the damages caused by "white-collar" crime, and for other useful purposes like building prisons for violent offenders, fixing the insurance system and making sure everyone has access to healthcare, incentivizing saving, and many more things I'm not thinking of right now.

America has been soft on "white-collar" criminals for way to long. Ken Lay, Tom Delay, Bernard Ebbers, Martha Stewart, and their cohorts owe the American people a large sum of $$$!


DeAnn said...

Can I just say that I think you are the only person in the world who can come up with a blog post from a sociology textbook. Quite impressive!

DeAnn said...

Where you at?