Government, Inc.

We’ve seen government barge into the business world this past 100 days under the dictatorship of Obama faster than Al Gore can say carbon credits. Mortgage companies, big banks, auto companies and who knows what’s next.

Jason Lewis, who fills in for Rush Limbaugh occasionally, has a guest on tonight on his recently syndicated Jason Lewis show that did a study of data from 96 counties in North Carolina over 13 years.

Expect More Speeding Tickets in Weak Economy

ScienceDaily (Jan. 15, 2009) — Got a lead foot? Hold on to your wallet. When local revenue falls, traffic citations go up.

A new study to be published in next month’s Journal of Law and Economics finds statistical evidence that local governments use traffic citations to make up for revenue shortfalls. So as the economy tanks, motorists may be more likely to see red and blue in the rearview.

Study authors Thomas Garrett, assistant vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and Gary Wagner from the University of Arkansas Little Rock, examined 14 years of revenue and traffic citation data from counties in North Carolina. They found that the number of traffic citations issued goes up the year following a revenue drop.

The finding adds credence to something many drivers have long suspected: Safety isn’t the only motive in traffic enforcement efforts. Since many municipalities retain the money generated by traffic fines, perhaps traffic enforcement also acts as a bit of a fundraiser.

“There is ample anecdotal evidence that local governments use traffic tickets as a means of generating revenue…,” Garrett and Wagner write. “Our paper provides the first empirical evidence to support this view….”

This shows that government is now a living breathing creature seeking its own survival. It’s not about increasing the safety out on the roads. It’s no longer the invisible hand and referee, it’s a major player. We have created Frankenstein and have no idea what damage this monster can do(fellow Minnesotans will find out soon too).

It’s not just municipalities increasing ticket revenue that is dangerous but more the mindset and precedent set that government can get away with it. The barn door was blasted wide open over the first 100 days and I just hope and pray the bull doesn’t destroy all the china. If there were any hesitancy to make that leap by state and local governments in the past, there won’t be any in the near future.