Gut Rumbles
 

April 25, 2005

debtor's prisons

We're not supposed to have them anymore. One of the facts I learned early in life about the settlement of Savannah was that James Oglethorpe filled his ships with people "colonists" that he had released from debtor's prison with the simple offer, "Stay here and rot, or go to the New World with me." They went, because it was better than rotting in jail.

If you think we don't have debtor's prison today, just read this article. It's not usurious creditors or Mafia thugs doing the dirty work to drive people into bankruptcy. IT'S THE GOVERNMENT doing it.

An interesting thing briefly suggested here is the extent to which tax problems force people into bankruptcy (usually, however, not because they just "forgot" to pay their taxes). There aren't many good studies on this, but some have concluded that as much as 10% of bankruptcy filings are caused by tax liabilities (and that doesn't count those who would have alot more money available to pay their debts but for having to pay their taxes or pay their taxes because they are generally nondischargeable in bankruptcy). For those keeping score at home, this exceeds the number of bankruptcies traditionally thought to be caused by health problems, death in the family, college expenses, and gambling.

Yeah, you can pursue happiness all you want to, as long as you PAY THE GOVERNMENT for that "right." And the government can take an incredible bite out of your money, too.

I took a lump-sum retirement settlement and ended up with 50% of the money. The government stole the rest. See... what I didn't understand was that all those graveyard shifts I worked, all the shit I went through and all the hard work I did for 24 years wasn't for ME or my family. I did it for the government. They TOOK their "share" of my earnings.

And if you don't pay the bastards, they'll bankrupt you, take everything you own and throw you in jail. Isn't that exactly the kind of government the early settlers of Savannah ran from?

They didn't run far enough.

Comments

The government needs that money to remove the perchlorate from the water....

Posted by: MT on April 25, 2005 02:31 PM

The first thing a retiree figures out is he isn't retired from taxation, even with zero income. Liquidate and get out of the country, ASAP.

Posted by: Jack on April 26, 2005 01:39 AM
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