Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No Cash for Second Hand Transactions in Louisiana?

One of my regular readers (and a worthy ideological rival), Eric, sent me an email with a link to an interesting story on a piece of legislation that apparently made it through the Louisiana Legislature and somehow avoided a veto by the state Governor.

In his email, Eric indicated that outrage over this legislation was something we both could agree on.

He's right.

While I understand the impulse in this legislation to make it more difficult to traffic in stolen property, this way of going about doing this is just pure wrongheaded.

Free human beings should be able to conduct commercial transactions using cash. Forget the other problems with the legislation that exempts some second hand commercial enterprises from the requirements of this legislation. They're ultimately irrelevant to the simple priniciple of conducting business transaction using cash. We should all be able to do this.

In fact, for much of the marginalized and poor, cash transactions are the primary means of engaging in commerce. This overzealous concern with clamping down on the trafficking of stolen property has the unfortunate consequence not only of compromising economic freedom, but also of disproportionately punishing the poor.

It's a foolish piece of legislation that never should have seen the light of day.


Eric said...

Was there much stink about that bill in Louisiana as it was making its way through the legislature? I was kind of surprised such bill could make it all the way through the legislative process, get signed into law, and not recieve any national attention until months later, when it was ready to go into effect.

Huck said...

Eric - Not so far as I can tell, and I usually keep an eye on the Louisiana legislature. Granted, I usually focus on issues pertaining to immigration legislation, but if this had received any local coverage, I would have been aware of it.

My far-fetched and completely unsubstantiated speculation is that this moved under the radar screen for the following typical reason: Quid pro quo dealmaking.

I suspect the Governor didn't veto this, nor was any fanfare made about it, because it was part of a caculated inter-party negotiation in which the GOP (and the Governor) got some Democratic support on another bill/initiative more important to them in exchange for their quiescence on this one.

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