#2 The Rights of Bums (1998)

rat All Rights Reserved © 1998 Thomas W. Day
A couple of years ago, during an attempt to purchase a home in Minnesota, I have learned a lot about the direction of the legal system.  I’ve learned, for instance, that the “rights” of the irresponsible will almost always override the rights of the responsible.  It is incredible that citizens know so little about the multitude of protections there are for those who refuse to pay their bills.  I suspect that if these laws were more common knowledge almost all of us would chose to be deadbeats. 
I suspect it’s more a matter of the general poor state of management, than a conscious direction our culture has chosen.  I doubt that we, as a nation, would knowingly chose to allow people the right to refuse payment on all manner of goods and services and still expect to receive any of those products unimpeded.  While there is a certain belief in the myth of “the free lunch” running through this country, most of us know it really doesn’t exist.  However, our laws don’t support that knowledge.
Let me give you a few examples of how idiotic our “bum protection” laws have become.  A person can expect to live for at least a year in a home for which that person makes absolutely no payment of any sort.  Mortgage companies will always allow a freeloader at least a year in which to come up with a single mortgage payment, before they consider evicting the bum.  Utility companies are equally hamstrung.  If a resident chooses to ignore notices of non-payment, utility companies are unable to either shut off the service or force payment through any means for at least a year of non-payment. 
Now you have to intelligent enough to know who makes up for those deadbeats.  The cost of freeloaders is simply added to the bottom line of the cost of doing business and is passed on to those of us who are idiotic enough to think we have to pay our bills.  The power company doesn’t lose any money.  The mortgage companies don’t go broke.  The garbage still gets picked up and the sewers still drain into our lakes and streams.  Those companies and organizations just add the cost of deadbeats to what the rest of us pay. 
The “no free lunch” concept only applies to those who don’t expect a free lunch.  If you are mentally able to cope with being a deadbeat, you can make a pretty nice living from handouts. 
And you can expect sympathy from a significant portion of the federal and state government for accepting that support.  At first glance, it might not make sense that government employees would want to work against the interest of tax and bill payers.  That’s a fairly superficial analysis, though.  Government employees have a vested interest in protecting deadbeats.  If it weren’t for slackers, we wouldn't have a lot of need for a significant portion of our current government.  If all government did was regulate trade and provide for national defense, we could eliminate considerably more than half of our current federal and state payroll.  Of course, that would put an incredible number of unemployable deadbeats out in the street which would probably start the whole cycle over again. 
January 1998

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