shopify analytics tool

Law for the little guy

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at

The real problem with "progressive" laws

I remember back in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan announced the "War On Drugs." Of course, drugs were already illegal, but this time we were going to eradicate the scrounge of the nation in the name of Mom, apple pie, and the American Way. The War On Drugs was going to be aimed solely at the fat-cat heads of the drug cartels who were leaching off the American dream. Fast forward 20 years. Now, in order to make their numbers, the DEA arrests doctors for prescribing too much pain medication.

The American income tax is another classic example. While the top rate of the Federal tax has varied 7% to 91% and currently stands at 35%, the bottom rate has increased from 1% to 15%. Just allowing for inflation, the personal exemption from 1950 would be about three times the current level. While the law has been "officially" targeted at the "upper class," more and more money comes from the lower and middle parts of the scale. Naturally, people don't actually see this tax they pay, it's removed from their check long before they open the envelope.

Laws requiring licenses for everything from hairdressing to contracting are passed in the name of protecting the little guy, but those same laws lock out competition in favor of already established businesses.

When the law is not uniformly applied, one group is always going to have an advantage. No matter how noble the intentions, laws will tend to be enforced against those least able to defend themselves.

So asset forfeiture moves from the mansions of drug dealers to car of a guy who loaned it to a friend the previous Tuesday because the friend was a little sloppy with his weed in the car. Grandmothers are arrested for downloading illegal music. Ten year olds are kicked out of school because they brought a picture of their older brother holding a rifle in Iraq.

Of course there are the high profile exceptions, but they are the few exceptions. To keep their budgets, the agencies need to show numbers showing arrests and successful prosecutions. Over time, any progressive law will be used against those least likely to defend themselves.

It doesn't matter what the law is. It could be civil rights. It could be drugs. It could be traffic cams. Progressive laws assume guilt of one group of people more than another. Not because of any crime, but just because the situation differs.

Whenever someone talks about the government going after someone to pay their fair share, or make things equal, just remember.

Progressive laws tend to be enforced against those least able to resist.

Posted: Tue - August 2, 2005 at 05:16 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus
2019       2018       2017       2016       2015       2014       2011       2010       2009       2008       2007       2006       2005