Dead is dead

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chewybrian
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Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
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Dead is dead

Post by chewybrian » June 28th, 2018, 7:19 am

When we impose taxes or penalties on people, isn't the intention to discourage negative behaviors to lessen the impact of these behaviors? Doesn't justice require that the penalty correspond to the potential or actual damage of the act?

We would lose our minds if the basis for wildly different sentences was age, gender or race, right? But, why should we ever allow monumental differences in punishment or taxation for acts that effectively have the same impact on ourselves or others on any basis?

Say you are convicted of drunk driving in Delaware. You could: lose your license for two years, be sent to classes, tested for alcohol, have your car confiscated, and have your next car (if you can still afford one) fitted with a breathalyzer on the ignition, all in addition to heavy fines.

If you are convicted of texting and driving in Delaware, you get a $50 fine.

This discrepancy is not a one-off situation, but in fact the norm:
https://dui.findlaw.com/dui-laws-resour ... lties.html
https://www.dmv.com/distracted-driving-penalties

Distracted driving causes more injuries, while drunk driving still causes more deaths:
https://arrivealivetour.com/unite/distr ... dangerous/
But, drunk driving is declining, and distracted driving is on the rise. Either way, it is fair to say that both are selfish decisions to put your frivolous desires ahead of the safety of yourself and others, and the potential impact of each is similar, whichever of these you engage in.

A like argument could be made in the case of sugar and tobacco. Comparable percentages of Americans smoke and take in 25% or more of their calories from added sugar, and the health effects of each decision are very similar:
https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation ... ng-heart#1
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eat ... 1402067021

Yet, we tax cigarettes at a rate of about $3 to $7 a pack, while we SUBSIDIZE sugar and corn sweetener production!
https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/ ... s/0267.pdf
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... 6f38fb1cac

Is there any justice in these laws and taxes listed above? Don't we owe citizens a tax and legal code where penalties are somewhat in line with the potential or actual damage done by the activities we are trying to regulate? If your family member dies from heart disease caused by sugar intake, rather than by smoking, is the impact on you different? Does it matter if they die from lung cancer or diabetes, distracted driving or drunk driving?

Dead is dead, right?

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Felix
Posts: 2037
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Dead is dead

Post by Felix » June 28th, 2018, 1:44 pm

Tobacco farming is also subsidized, and taxes are being imposed on sugary products like soda pop in some U.S. municipalities, despite the lobbying efforts of the manufacturers of those products.

When an accurate brainalizer test for distracted driving has been invented, the penalties will become more commensurate with drunk driving penalties.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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LuckyR
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Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Dead is dead

Post by LuckyR » June 29th, 2018, 1:36 am

chewybrian wrote:
June 28th, 2018, 7:19 am
When we impose taxes or penalties on people, isn't the intention to discourage negative behaviors to lessen the impact of these behaviors? Doesn't justice require that the penalty correspond to the potential or actual damage of the act?

We would lose our minds if the basis for wildly different sentences was age, gender or race, right? But, why should we ever allow monumental differences in punishment or taxation for acts that effectively have the same impact on ourselves or others on any basis?

Say you are convicted of drunk driving in Delaware. You could: lose your license for two years, be sent to classes, tested for alcohol, have your car confiscated, and have your next car (if you can still afford one) fitted with a breathalyzer on the ignition, all in addition to heavy fines.

If you are convicted of texting and driving in Delaware, you get a $50 fine.

This discrepancy is not a one-off situation, but in fact the norm:
https://dui.findlaw.com/dui-laws-resour ... lties.html
https://www.dmv.com/distracted-driving-penalties

Distracted driving causes more injuries, while drunk driving still causes more deaths:
https://arrivealivetour.com/unite/distr ... dangerous/
But, drunk driving is declining, and distracted driving is on the rise. Either way, it is fair to say that both are selfish decisions to put your frivolous desires ahead of the safety of yourself and others, and the potential impact of each is similar, whichever of these you engage in.

A like argument could be made in the case of sugar and tobacco. Comparable percentages of Americans smoke and take in 25% or more of their calories from added sugar, and the health effects of each decision are very similar:
https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation ... ng-heart#1
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eat ... 1402067021

Yet, we tax cigarettes at a rate of about $3 to $7 a pack, while we SUBSIDIZE sugar and corn sweetener production!
https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/ ... s/0267.pdf
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... 6f38fb1cac

Is there any justice in these laws and taxes listed above? Don't we owe citizens a tax and legal code where penalties are somewhat in line with the potential or actual damage done by the activities we are trying to regulate? If your family member dies from heart disease caused by sugar intake, rather than by smoking, is the impact on you different? Does it matter if they die from lung cancer or diabetes, distracted driving or drunk driving?

Dead is dead, right?
What makes you think that folks of different races get the same sentences?
"As usual... it depends."

Belindi
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Posts: 1477
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: Dead is dead

Post by Belindi » June 29th, 2018, 2:38 am

I agree with Chewybrian if the generality he means is that laws and adminstration of justice are slow to catch up with facts.

Regarding taxes : while taxes are being used to alter behaviour they are mainly for financing wars , public welfare, and corrupt regimes and their leaders.

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chewybrian
Posts: 207
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Dead is dead

Post by chewybrian » June 29th, 2018, 6:24 am

Felix wrote:
June 28th, 2018, 1:44 pm
Tobacco farming is also subsidized, and taxes are being imposed on sugary products like soda pop in some U.S. municipalities, despite the lobbying efforts of the manufacturers of those products.

When an accurate brainalizer test for distracted driving has been invented, the penalties will become more commensurate with drunk driving penalties.
Actually, tobacco was deregulated in 2004. Then, there was a decade of bridge payments to growers financed by extra taxes on tobacco companies (a lot of cash). Since then, we still subsidize crop insurance, but it's nothing like it used to be.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/20 ... /32115163/

The best solution I can think is to use a gps in the phones to shut them off for two minutes every time they are moving over 20 mph. A lot of people wouldn't like it, but it would save lives.

A tax on sugar is fine with me, if it is used to fund the excess health costs caused by its consumption. A surgeon general's warning also would be warranted, in my view.
LuckyR wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 1:36 am
What makes you think that folks of different races get the same sentences?
Of course I don't think that. Some of it goes to demographics, like prior convictions and economics, like using a public defender instead of a good lawyer. Some of it no doubt goes to racism. But, it is not drastic, widespread, systematic, sanctioned racism. If a certain judge gave everyone of one race a $50 fine and everyone of another race a $10,000 package of fines and other penalties, we wouldn't stand for it. But, why should we ever stand for such a huge spread for two crimes which are essentially equal?
Belindi wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 2:38 am
I agree with Chewybrian if the generality he means is that laws and adminstration of justice are slow to catch up with facts.

Regarding taxes : while taxes are being used to alter behaviour they are mainly for financing wars , public welfare, and corrupt regimes and their leaders.
They go after items with a low 'elasticity of demand', like cigarettes, liquor, gas. People will still buy them whether the 'out the door' price gets crazy high or not. If they taxed high elasticity items, people would just switch off to something else, and the industry would lose jobs, and tax revenues would not rise by much. Trying to alter behavior is largely a pretense; they are really just trying to gather up as much as they are able to fund the nonsense they want, some of which you described.

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LuckyR
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Posts: 3017
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Dead is dead

Post by LuckyR » June 29th, 2018, 11:14 am

chewybrian wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 6:24 am
LuckyR wrote:
June 29th, 2018, 1:36 am
What makes you think that folks of different races get the same sentences?
Of course I don't think that. Some of it goes to demographics, like prior convictions and economics, like using a public defender instead of a good lawyer. Some of it no doubt goes to racism. But, it is not drastic, widespread, systematic, sanctioned racism. If a certain judge gave everyone of one race a $50 fine and everyone of another race a $10,000 package of fines and other penalties, we wouldn't stand for it. But, why should we ever stand for such a huge spread for two crimes which are essentially equal?
As you already know the answer to your question is highlit for clarity. No different from the different sentences for powder and crack cocaine (because Wall Street bankers didn't do crack). Similar to how soccer moms text frequently and drive drunk less often. Thus essentially the identical issue I refereed to in my first post.
"As usual... it depends."

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