I strongly disagree with the overly lenient sentence that was handed down to Ty Warner. While I appreciate and applaud his many good works and charitable contributions, the fact of the matter remains that he broke the law, knowingly and willingly over a long period of time, and cheated the American people out of millions of dollars in taxes. The fact that he has paid over $1 billion dollars in taxes in his lifetime doesn't change the fact that he legally owed millions more.
He could have received up to four years in prison, and I agree that his good works should have been considered. Three to six months in prison would have been acceptable. But no jail sentence again sends the message that the rich can flout the law with impunity, while ordinary folks are held to a different standard. Money may not buy happiness, but it surely buys a get-out-of-jail card.
A small-time swindler goes to jail. A big-time swindler gets bailed out by the government and then gets a multimillion-dollar bonus and a golden parachute. A poor guy gets a DUI and loses his license. A rich guy gets an expensive lawyer and gets off. A poor street thug commits rape and gets a long sentence, a rich guy's lawyer puts the victim on trial and the case becomes "he said / she said", and he goes free.
Americans don't need any more examples of the rich getting special treatment. Ty Warner's sentence could have sent a message that even rich folks must obey the law, and perhaps act as a deterrent to others who are counting on their money to buy them out of trouble. Warner may not be a threat to society, but this sentence is a threat to the fabric of our society.