What next, gambling in Casablanca?

Via the Washington Post, a story about how the federal government is backing down from seizing the tax refund and Social Security checks of the children of allegedly debtor parents. (Hat tip, blogfather.)

If a private enterprise were to seize the assets or income of the children of debtors, do so without a court order and a showing that the children are somehow legally responsible for this debt, and do so well beyond the period of statutory limitations on such an action, there would be a hue and cry. Moreover, that private company could be liable for damages, would be investigated by the government, and, actually, might not be able to get the asset seizure through a court anyway – that whole thing about not showing that the kids are legally responsible and that the collection of the debt is within a permissible period of time.

Our government is seventeen trillion dollars in debt. It is no less rapacious than any desperate, indebted gambling addict, nor any more protective of our rights than a rogue company. The only difference is that we can get the government to act as a buffer between us and the wrongdoing of others, but can’t ask one part of the government to curtail the other part.

Any of this would be blatantly obvious to anyone who has read Federalist 51 and absorbed the lesson that the government is no more inherently good than any person or business.

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Filed under Economics, Law

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