RALL: Rape & Murder -- Good For The Economy?

As if our country didn't already have enough to worry about -- advancing technology, downsizing, Pamela Anderson -- here come the economics of rape.An exciting new Justice Department study, "Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look," reveals that the "average rape" costs its victim $5,100. This sum is based on such out-of-pocket expenses as medical bills and visits to counselors. So, locking up a rapist at the cost of $20,000 a year -- the average annual cost of housing an inmate -- obviously doesn't make good economic sense, the authors say, until you factor in "the effect on the victim's quality of life," which then brings the total average rape cost to $87,000.Therefore it may be a good idea to lock up rapists -- assuming, of course, that the average rapist would otherwise have performed at least one average rape every 4.35 years. The Justice Department plans to attach tracking devices to a random sampling of 1,200 average rapists to determine the average rate of rapist recidivism. Criminologists will present their recommendations to the Congressional Budget Office, which will then decide whether it makes more economic sense to put rapists in prison or to let them run amok.Government analysts have also priced the "lost quality of life" for a murder victim at $1.9 million. This amount includes the average murder victim's average pain caused by an average bullet or average knife shoved through an average heart or lung, the net total of average relatives' average bereavement, the average number of days the mourners miss from work and the resulting loss to national productivity, as well as average burial costs and uncovered medical expenses. Do bear in mind, however, that people murdered next year will be entitled to a 4 percent cost-of-living increase to account for inflation, minus depreciation.The average murder investigation costs only $1,400, which at first glance seems to mean the police could catch only one out of 1,357 murders and still be fiscally ahead of the game. Assuming that the average murderer serves 20 years in prison, however, the cost of housing him would be $400,000. Therefore, from a profit-loss standpoint, it only makes sense to continue pursuing murderers if at least one person is convicted for every 4.75 unnatural deaths (the $400,000 cost of housing an inmate for life, divided by the $1.9 million cost of an average life).Actually, a number of factors mitigate against even considering rape and murder to be "crimes." First of all, the American medical industry derives an annual benefit from the livers, kidneys, eyes and other organs donated by murder victims that are worth billions of dollars in transplant fees.Furthermore, when jailed, a murderer or rapist fails to contribute an average of $45,000 in value-added labor to the economy. Over a 20-year sentence, this comes to a loss of $900,000-plus that additional cost of $1.9 million if the inmate should get murdered in prison.Additionally, many murder victims are smokers, whose secondhand smoke would undoubtedly have killed many of their acquaintances and coworkers, as well as themselves, had they lived.The statistical analysis is clear: murder -- in reasonable, non-Dahmer quantities -- is good for the economy, and should be immediately legalized.If the inmates currently in American penal institutions were released and given even menial jobs, their increased production would cause the Dow Jones Industrial Average to soar at least 300 points. The Treasury Department is currently calculating the effect of legalized killing on interest rates. In the meantime, this much is certain: While we're coddling the funeral-going, absentee-worker relatives of murder victims, our stockholders are taking a beating and our Asian competitors are laughing themselves silly.While we're on the subject, The Cato Institute reveals that the average welfare family receives $17,500 in government benefits, the post-tax equivalent of a $25,000-a-year job. Given that the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour pays a full-time worker just $8,840 a year, assuming no vacation, at first glance it seems that we're paying people not to work.But the Cato study fails to take into account the Justice Department's analysis, which demonstrates the financial viability of murder and rape. Our society needs to find some way to get people off welfare, and out murdering and raping where they belong. Sure, rape and murder may seem like horrible crimes, but it's time to let go of antiquated ideas of morality. In the brave new world of 21st century international competition, traditional notions of right and wrong offer nothing to a society trying to maximize its asset-liability ratios.It's all in the numbers!

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