Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Protection Racket

In the payday lending laws passed recently here in Ohio, our legislators sought to protect us from the predatory lending practices of so called "Pay Day Lenders" who charge a fixed fee for a short term loan. This law was passed so that these potential bad guys could not rip us off, allowing us instead to go to banks. On May 23rd we signed into law House Resolution 627, the "Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights". (By the way, spellcheck just told me that Cardholder isn't a word. Of course it also told me that spellcheck isn't a word.) 

This newly signed law was designed to protect us from predatory banks who charge too high an interest rate or change the rules on credit limits arbitrarily. You know, now that I think about it a little more, government has been protecting us from a lot lately:
  • They took over the mortgage and mortgage insurance businesses to protect us from predatory lenders.
  • They took over the banking industry to protect us from ... the banking industry.
  • They took over GM and Chrysler to insure that US automakers would build the 'right kind' of cars for the future (whether we want to buy them or not).
  • They just raised the CAFE standards in the US, to protect us from gas guzzling cars.
  • This will likewise protect us from the greenhouse gases that those cars produce, which in turn will help protect us from "Man-made Global Warming" (a theory which is falling into greater disfavor every day).
Protecting us is something that government has been doing for a while, though sometimes with less than favorable results:
  • They protect us with Social Security, a government controlled retirement program (ponzi scheme) which is now all but bankrupt and little able therefore to serve its original function.
  • They protect us with Medicare, a limited form of the national health care program which they would like to turn the entire health care system into, which is likewise all but bankrupt and barely able to serve its original function.
  • They protect us with Mandatory seat belt laws, assuming that we have neither the good sense or the ability to decide whether wearing a seatbelt is in our best interests (and in some cases, it hasn't been).
  • They protect us with regulations for automobile air bags, regardless of the fact that these safety devices have sometimes proved less than safe when they deployed.
  • They protect us from harmful chemicals like DDT, which has been proven to be effective in controlling mosquitoes that spread malaria, something that kills far more.
  • They protect us from irradiated food, which there is no proof causes any harm, but the lack of which may contribute to numerous food poisoning situations.
  • They protect us from nuclear power plants with endless regulations and road blocks, while failing to protect us from the serious power shortages that failing to build such plants engenders.
Now I know that government was designed to do some limited form of protecting. It was designed to protect its citizens from all threats, foreign and domestic. It should likewise protect me from criminal behavior as defined by the rule of law. It should even protect me from other people trying to infringe on my freedoms. I am beginning to think however, that government has become just a little too fond in recent years of protecting me from things whether I need it or not, and whether I want it or not. So my question for all of you out there (and I think that I already know the answer) are two:

  1. When did government become a Protection Racket?
  2. Who will protect us against our protectors?


Winky Twinky said...

These questions or very similar ones seem to have been the constant struggle throughout time for individual freedom from imposing governments or rulers.

Seems to be a recurring thing even though America's founders tried to come up with a government with checks and balances and giving its citizens the right to bear arms to protect themselves even against a future overbearing government. It boggles the mind how and why mankind continually undermines itself.

Tim Higgins said...


The reason we have these questions is because we abandoned checks and balances in favor of hope and change. This didn't just happen in the last election, but goes back to Wilson and FDR.

Perhaps if we rattle the bars in the cage long enough, some of the other prisoners of this system might wake up and help us to get back to the days of the Founding Fathers.

Roland Hansen said...

I remember when protection was synonymous with safety, both words of which were once used in reference to a condom.


I wonder if the government censors will come after me in their role of protecting the internet from purveyors of whatever the government bureaucrats feel should not fall under the First Amendment protection of free speech.

Tim Higgins said...


Those censors might visit you to chastise you for reading such unredeemable trash as this blog, but mentioning a condom may save you. We all know how the government loves condoms.

Hooda Thunkit said...

(Damned Blogger, removing the line feeds. . . Grrr!)


”When did government become a Protection Racket?”As near as I can tell this insidious protection racket started with the invocation of Social Security (which indeed is a giant Ponzi scheme, now bordering on collapse), when we failed to stand up against this “protection” at that time and say HELL NO!”Who will protect us against our protectors?“That mi amigo, will be up to us...

As for me, I am stocking up on my armaments, regularly practicing and honing my skills, quietly picking up ammo, a little here, a little there... ;-)

I could go on, but I think that you get the idea...

I have no doubt that my endeavors will come in handy when the time comes to take back this country from our elected representatives starting with Taking Back Toledo, and then Taking Back Ohio. Then, on too Washington D.C., which is our right.

Roland Hansen said...

" ... protection racket started with the invocation of Social Security (which indeed is a giant Ponzi scheme, now bordering on collapse ... "Mi amigo, Hooda Thunkit, I never thought about SS in the way you have stated. Now, having read that, it is without reservation or hesitation, I feel compelled to state that I do believe you are onto something there. It does seem to be a quite observant and astute opinion that cannot just be casually tossed aside. Please excuse me now, while I go off and contemplate. You are confusing my social liberal fiscal moderate bias.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Once you have thunk on it a while, your head will begin to hurt.

So, I suggest that you alternate by thinking of the Toledo Payroll Tax which, as it turns out, is also a Ponzi scheme.

Both only work as long as there are increasing numbers of good workers paying into the system.

And now an added twist to ponder...

If abortions were still illegal, there would be more young workers working to support the scheme. . .

(Which would eventually still fail, but later rather than now...)


Now, how does your head feel?

Tim Higgins said...

Mi Amigos,

While I agree with HT that this first reared its ugly head on a financial side with FDR and SS, I believe you can trace it back further, to Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt who began to gather the reigns of power in the office of the President.

When WW decided that we needed to be part of his League of Nations, subverting the Constitution to International Law, we had phase I. When Teddy began to create countries, trampling on the rights of other nations "for the greater good", we got Phase II. Phase III had to wait for FDR and the New Deal. Phase IV for LBJ and "The Great Society", where government began to further its goal as the great provider.

Thus are we moved, step by step, inch by inch, down a road that we never chose to a destination that we should dread indeed.

Hooda Thunkit said...


After thinking about it for less than a minute, I can see why you would say that and I concur.

(I hate it when someone brings up history farther back than I can remember.)


Tim Higgins said...


You pointed to the path, I just followed it further back into the dark recesses of history.

Besides, I figured I better get busy and get to work before my Amigos left me in the dust of their fascinating intellectual discussions.

(I hate when that happens...)

Roland Hansen said...

That's it! I'm going off to a corner of the room now and hang my head as I sob uncontrollably.

That said, though, I feel like the guy who went crazy in a round room when he couldn't find a corner in which he could take a leak.

But, I know there is a corner here somewhere, because I feel all boxed in.

Er, excuse me where is the left side of this room?

Tim Higgins said...


These days, the left side of the room seems to be all around us. We seem to be making more left turns than NASCAR in fact. The right side (pun intended both ways), is more difficult to discover and may have been lost temporarily.

Personally, I'm hoping that its just around the next corner. (In a round room, right? :-D)