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Blue Civil War
Blue Civil War in California as State Jacks Up Traffic Fines

Pressed to come up with the money to stave off its public employee pension time bomb, the state of California is jacking up the cost of traffic tickets. Reuters reports:

California legislators have raised fines for traffic infractions to some of the highest in the United States to generate revenue, and the poor are bearing an unfair burden, losing cars and jobs because they cannot pay them, civil rights activists said on Friday.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area said in a new report that the $490 fine for a red light ticket in California was three times the national average. The cost was even higher if motorists wanted to attend traffic school in lieu of a conviction or were late paying.

This is a variation of what we call the “blue civil war”—the way the tightening fiscal vise around state and local governments end up pitting Democratic constituencies against one another. In this case, poor and minority Californians, who tend to need to drive further to work, are paying the brunt of the increased traffic fines—which are going to cover the retirement hole for unionized public employees.

In the long run, California’s growing pension liabilities will also likely force cuts in education and welfare programs that vulnerable citizens depend on, creating a further conflict between the interests of unions and the interests of the poor.

As the blue model becomes fiscally unsustainable, the political coalition that holds it together will come under strain as well. The big question is whether Republicans or reform-minded Democrats can take advantage of this looming schism.

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  • ——————————

    Jack up traffic fines…now there’s an intelligent way to deal with Cali’s insanity…just add more insanity on top of it!….

  • Jeff77450

    Said in all seriousness: How anyone can adhere to or defend Leftist thinking is just beyond me. Yes, the Right gets some things wrong too but the difference is that core Conservative principles are sound. Leftist thinking is inherently unsound ignoring, as it does, the Principle of Causality, i.e. cause-and-effect relationships, is constantly running afoul of the Law of Unintended Consequences and ignores the vagaries of human nature.

    • Akaky

      But the children….

    • SgtFraggleRock

      Leftist thinking

      Leftists don’t think, they feel.

  • Fat_Man

    Is this not the same thing that Ferguson MO was doing, and that the DoJ declared to be a civil rights violation?

    • M Snow

      Yes, exactly right. Maybe Attorney General Jeff Sessions should sue California for a disparate impact violation.

      • Fat_Man

        I wasn’t saying it was a good argument. It is just amusing to see the holier than thou liberals in California doing the same thing.

        • M Snow

          I’m not saying it’s a good idea either. However, it would be fun have California explain why it’s different when Ferguson does it.

          • Fat_Man

            We are in agreement. Make some popcorn, I’ll get the beers.

          • M Snow

            Sounds good to me. I hope you like your popcorn with lots of butter and salt.

          • Professor X

            That’s the only way to eat it, right?

            Seriously, one of the biggest snack food shocks an American can encounter in foreign countries is that the popcorn is–especially in Asia–almost always sweet. Movie theaters with only caramel corn (Central Asia), only kettle-or-sweeter microwave popcorn for sale in supermarkets and 7-11s from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea… In some countries, the unsweetened stuff just doesn’t exist; in others, you can find it, but have to look. It’s a fortunate thing that the beer is usually good!

          • M Snow

            Interesting. I guess I’ll stick to the beer.

          • Fat_Man

            Pilsner Urquell (the true Pilsner) is the house pour here. I hope you like it.

          • John Stephens

            Because the Right People weren’t in charge there, of course!

          • M Snow

            Of course.

    • texasjimbo

      No. Ferguson primarily targeted the highest member of the left’s hierarchy of victims: African Americans. California will primarily be targeting whites, Asians, or at worst Hispanics. No where close to as bad.

      • Fat_Man

        Depends on where they run the traps. Aren’t illegal immigrants higher raked that all citizens?

        • texasjimbo

          Oops! You’ve pointed out an obvious flaw in my victim hierarchy. Given how blacks disproportionately absorb the economic harm caused by illegal immigrants, they are clearly lower in that hierarchy that illegals. I’ll have to make the appropriate adjustments.

          • Fat_Man

            It is so hard to keep up these days.

  • Unelected Leader

    I can’t wait for 2018 to see the JusticeDems and People’s Independent Party and other far left groups attempt to primary what they call corporate Dems, like Pelosi and Schumer. Whether they can successfully primary them is irrelevant. It will only harm the party further lol.

  • Boritz

    And the bumper sticker read:  Starve the elderly. Drive the speed limit.

    • seattleoutcast

      This is genius.

  • D4x

    “$490 fine for a red light ticket in California ” makes the quest for $15/hour more relevant to the quest for zero CO2 emissions, or something not yet revealed to resist…

  • QET

    The Roman State had become a huge, complicated machine, exclusively for bleeding its subjects. Taxes, imposts and tributes of every kind pressed the mass of the people always deeper into poverty; the pressure was intensified until the exactions of governors, of tax collectors and armies made it unbearable. . . .The more the empire declined, the higher rose the taxes and levies, the more shamelessly the officials robbed and extorted—Engels

  • seattleoutcast

    Again, another poor tax. Silly Californians! When will you realize that all of your progressive actions hurt the poor more than any other group? As usual, the democrats prove that the rich democrats are more equal than the poor and middle class.

    • Angel Martin

      “When will you realize that all of your progressive actions hurt the poor more than any other group? ”

      That’s a feature, not a bug.

      Rule #1 for politicians, ignore what they say, watch what they do.

      • Seanzorelli

        Save your sympathy for people that deserve it. California’s poor have been voting for blue-model spending for decades. They are only getting what they voted for.

        • James

          “They are only getting what they voted for.” Precisely, and that’s why I call it “Grubefornia,” in (dis)honor of Professor Jonathan Gruber of MIT, who said he was able to pass Obamacare thanks to “the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever.”

        • Professor X

          Right, but the millions of conservatives that are in CA are stuck too. I just hope that once the pain gets bad enough, we can get some people to wake up and vote rationally.

    • Jim__L

      That’s because the only people that Democrats ever talk to are rich Democrats, who console themselves with the idea that they’ve got so many giveaway programs to the poor that they’ve bought themselves the right to preen.

  • Andrew Allison

    The blue model is already fiscally unsustainable. The only question is where and when it will blow up first. CA is clearly desperate and the next recession may well be the trigger, but IL, NJ and KY are jokeying for the position of first past that particular post.

    • Seanzorelli

      Don’t forget CT, they still have a shot at the title.

  • Robert Burke

    California could be advanced and beat New York state by defunding Prog Ed in K-12, university and grad schools; replacing the necrotic, anti-brain and anti-republic pedagogy with Western Enlightenment. But which is more entrained in stupidity: New York or California?

    • Akaky

      Oooh, ooh, Mr Burke, Mr Burke, we are more stoopiter here in Noo Yawk. We’re getting free college education that will be so expensive no one can afford to go. Ain’t we more dumberer than California???!!!

      • champ

        Yeah, but are you Noo Yawkers spending $1 billion dollars on a medium-speed choo-choo to nowhere?

        • Akaky

          No, but I am sure we could spend money we don’t have on something equally dumb if you let us think about it for a while

        • Professor X

          I wish California was only spending a billion. Isn’t the final price tag (not the one on the ballot initiative, of course, which also required high speed, but the courts decided none of that mattered…) closer to $100 billion? That is, if you include Sacramento and San Diego, as promised, and also buy trains to run on the thing?

          • Akaky

            And the human infrastructure as well. Tracks have to be maintained, locomotives have to be repaired, signals have to be fixed (although Amtrak has attempted to get by without doing any of that stuff, as anyone who has tried to get through Penn Station recently can tell you). Actual people have to do all of that stuff. And as in NY, all of those will be union jobs paying union wages. California has not yet begun to pay through the nose for that silly train.

  • mikeman

    “likely force cuts in education and welfare programs”—are you kidding? The cuts should be in the criminally high pensions for Kalifornia state pensioners.
    Just read an article that 10 pensioners in the University of Kalifornia programs are receiving over $300 thousand in retirement money.
    Start with these greedy “educators” first and then work your way through the rest of the pension swamp.

  • DanielAMcAllen

    $490? Holy crap.
    Despite my best efforts to avoid them, driving part-time for Uber in Chicago has lead me to pay about $1,000 in red light and speed camera tickets over the past 2 years, typically at a cost of $100 each, although a few ended up at $200 because I wasn’t able to pay them fast enough.
    I don’t know how I would have dealt with getting multiple violations at almost $500 each. That is just shameful on the part of the CA legislators.

  • boldface

    Isn’t a $500 fine for a parking ticket a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on excessive fines?

  • Pete

    Democratic constituencies should be pitted against one another. They’re all thieves.

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