Re: Why "progressive" tax schemes are evil

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 09:51:58 PST

Tony Berkman wrote:

> Spoken like a true Libertarian - John Mills would be proud. But there are
> so many ugly sleazy practices in the revolving credit agency that I believe
> there should be some rules and regulations in place to protect those who
> don't know better.

No, there should just be one rule in place: if a consumer is given a credit
card, unsolicited, and the consumer runs it up, then the credit card company
eats it. Guaranteed that would suffice to eliminate entirely the glut of
insane consumer credit.

Look, there's two sides to the problem: one is the consumer responsibility
side, the other is the corporate responsibility side. Everybody has to own up.

We can't focus on the consumer side without focusing on the root problem:
abdication by the parents of teaching life essentials; it now widely regarded
as the responsibility of the educational system. It's ABSOLUTELY CRIMINAL that
people who do bother to make use of our educational system come out of it
totally oblivious -wrt- personal finance and other critical life skills.
Clearly, parents have abdicated that responsibility; we should make it
mandatory for every public high school student to take *4 years* of personal
finance / true home economics / "life skills." Here's a suggested series of 1
semester courses that make up the core of the curriculum:

  * How Much Stuff Costs
  * Working for a Living
  * Banks, Saving, and How To Balance Your Checkbook
  * Household Budgeting and Financial Planning
  * Credit: When and How to Use It
  * Buying and Owning a House
  * Taxes
  * Investing

> In general, I tend to agree with you that people should be free to make
> their own choices, but I also think there should be SOME regulation to
> protect the consumer and, I think lines are regularly crossed when
> revolving credit is concerned.

While I think we're in violent agreement, I'd offer the following subtle
difference: rather than protecting the "helpless, innocent, naive, blameless,"
(sarcasm) and *irresponsible* consumer, let's instead focus on punishing the
predatory, damaging, and irresponsible practices of the credit card companies.

Prophylactic law --- regulation of any kind --- CANNOT work in the long term.
Punitive law is the only law that is fair and effective in the long run. The
consumer is *already* punished for this irresponsibility, to a large extent,
though clearly we do need bankruptcy reform. The credit card cos, however, get
off scott free, modulo bankruptcy. Let's make it possible to file "bankruptcy"
at will, in a "no fault" type of way, against creditors who can be proved to
have failed in their fiduciary responsibility in credit decisions. That would
end the problem entirely and immediately.


> - tb

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