Stuck on stupid

Every morning I scan the headlines and various news sources.  Usually something will catch my eye and be a source for that day’s blog post.  Today, is another such instance.

I wonder where some state legislators come from?  There has been so many acts of outright stupidity that the total would amass volumes and kill off acres of trees to document them all.

Here is an example from Louisiana.

Posted: Oct 18, 2011 4:58 AM CST
Cold hard cash. It’s good everywhere you go, right? You can use it to pay for anything.

But that’s not the case here in Louisiana now. It’s a law that was passed during this year’s busy legislative session.
House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of business,” says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items.

“We don’t want this cash transaction to be taken away from us. It’s an everyday transaction,” Guidry explains.
Guidry says, “I think everyone in this business once they find out about it. They’re will definitely be a lot of uproar.”
The law states those who buy or sell second hand goods are prohibited from using cash. State representative Rickey Hardy co-authored the bill.
Hardy says, “they give a check or a cashiers money order, or electronic one of those three mechanisms is used.”
Hardy says the bill is targeted at criminals who steal anything from copper to televisions, and sell them for a quick buck. Having a paper trail will make it easier for law enforcement.
“It’s a mechanism to be used so the police department has something to go on and have a lead,” explains Hardy.
Guidry feels his store shouldn’t have to change it’s ways of doing business, because he may possibly buy or sell stolen goods. Something he says has happened once in his eight years.
“We are being targeted for something we shouldn’t be.”
Besides non-profit resellers like Goodwill, and garage sales, the language of the bill encompasses stores like the Pioneer Trading Post and flea markets.
Lawyer Thad Ackel Jr. feels the passage of this bill begins a slippery slope for economic freedom in the state.
“The government is placing a significant restriction on individuals transacting in their own private property,” says Ackel.
Pawn shops have been forced to keep records of their clients for years. However under this bill they are still allowed to deal in cash.

Really?  I can tick off instances where cash is the only method of monetary transaction.  What are you going to do at Garage/Yard/Rummage sales?  Install a card swipe for a few days? What about a flea market organized as a fund raiser?  What about the Salvation Army store and Goodwill? Credit and debit cards only? Just think of the impacts to all private sales.

This legislation seems to be focused primarily on small and individual businesses.  Perhaps the real reason is that cash transactions are the staple of the grey economy…those transactions between individuals that is never reported to the state—and never collect sales tax either.

On top of all that, how can you enforce it? Garrison every second hand store, every pawn shop with a cop?  Oh, I forgot, they exempted pawn shops.

But, how could I be surprised when this comes from a state that provided Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans who, when his city was in peril, fled to Las Vegas and left his constituents to drown and Governor Kathleen Blanco who dithered for days before allowing the feds to enter the state for disaster assistance and then tried to pass her failures onto the Bush Administration.

A famous saying came out of the mess of Katrina, “Stuck on Stupid.”  I see it is still alive and well in Louisiana.