...it's best to question the Romans.
This email came to me yesterday. I thought it was apt and will reproduce it in full here.
It asks a fundamental question of (any) government: Does crime cost, or does it pay?
The answer, (here in the Republic of South Africa) is that it pays the government. An awful lot.
"Question: "What is the influence of crime on the S.A. Govt?"
Answer: Crime generates millions and millions of Rand's for the SA Government
Here are the facts....
Take just one million home owners in Gauteng who pay for "armed crime reaction" (not crime prevention) where private security companies react AFTER the crime has taken place - no wonder they never make any arrests!
This service costs on average R250 p.m. Therefore 1,000,000 x R240.00 x 12 months x 14% VAT, generates R403 million in tax revenue for the SA Govt!
A car thief steals a R500,000 car and receives between R10,000 and R30,000 for his deed. The car owner is paid out by insurance and then purchases another similar vehicle, on which
he pays 14% VAT of approx R70,000 as a direct result of crime. Who profited the most? The thief or the SA Govt?
We must begin with a mechanism whereby the SA Govt is forced to reconsider this unconstitutional and immoral practice of profiting from crime!
All South Africans should demand that all payments related to protection of life and property should be VAT free and Tax deductible!
This principle should also apply to replacement of stolen property as well as estate duty. If a person dies as a result of crime we should also demand that estate duty not be paid. How much do you think the SA Govt. has made out of estate duty from the murders of 1300 South African farmers?
The S.A. Govt likes to compare us to overseas. Well overseas your safety and security is covered by your income tax and is tax deductible!
It is time that South Africans stood together and made the Govt. and public aware of the Govt's "income" from crime. In the meantime crime is the goose that lays the golden egg.
Is it also not unreasonable to expect victims of violence and hijackings to pay their own medical costs? The Govt. should pay for these expenses as well as family counselling for victims!
Come on South Africa, ask the right questions and demand the right answers!"
Don't forget - 'When not in Rome, do as the Americans do...'
Harry Harrison, in one of his Stainless Steel Rat series books, suggested that a spot of larceny was very good for the economy, albeit slightly inflationary, since it took the locked in capital and started it re-circulating again, gave employment to the plod, windfalls to the 'victims' from the insurance money, etc etc
Chuckles, I'm a long time SSR fan and remember the bit you're referring to, but I think if Harry Harrison was being serious when he wrote it then he'd fallen for the broken window fallacy. On top of that, as the Cap'n's email contact points out, governments are well placed to profit from broken windows. I think diGriz got that one wrong.
Never has asked it before.
AE, I think HH was way too astute and observant to fall for that one. He was having a sharp dig at the sort of societies we find in the Western World today.
Not remotely similar to the situation referred to in the email, although many western govts. are doing their best to recreate the SA type microcosm in their own countries.
In general, I'm not a huge fan of impassioned pleas to 'do something', email or no, especially when as in this case, they address a symptom rather than the problem.
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