Friday, October 21, 2011

Remind me not to move to Louisiana any time soon.

Louisiana legislators have passed a law that people who buy and sell second-hand goods can not use cash for those transactions, because cash is not traceable. They reason that the paper trail will help authorities to apprehend criminals who fence stolen goods to junk store sellers and the like, but I think the law will instead be used to fine small time junk dealers who routinely transact business with cash. There will be junk dealer stings. As a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the Great American Junk Store, I resent this encroachment on my future potential transactions between me and a junk dealer, which happens to be nobody's business but my own, and you lovely blog-reading lot, on occasion.

I gather from the article that this is purportedly aimed at folk who buy scrap metal, as this is a growing problem with thieves stealing wiring from utilities and homes throughout the country, but I think there are already controls in place governing buyers of scrap metal that require identification for those types of transactions. I don't foresee Charlie with his shopping cart of freshly harvested copper wire from the local strip mall showing up at Farmer Barleymow's Junk Palace for a cash tradeoff any time soon-- he'll go to a metals dealer with their scales and such. However, the encroachment of more gubmint regulation may drive my beloved Farmer Barleymow out of business entirely, and then where would we be? Trust me when I say that if you've any interest in anthropology, junk stores are one of the most fecund fields to explore the recent century and a half of our culture. Plus they have the most fabulous crap.

Anyway, this new law is seriously hosed-up. What next? Will SWAT teams descend on yard sales and wallop hausfraus with big fines for selling their used tupperware for a quarter, cash, not check/money order/credit card? This may seem ridiculous, but it's a slippery slope. And from the sound of the legislator in the video on the linked article, Louisianans have been firmly in that handbasket for a good long while already.


Sigivald said...

The reporting is, as is typical, inaccurate.

What is prohibited is dealers in secondhand goods paying sellers in cash.

It does not prohibit people from buying from such dealers with cash.

So, good news from the junk-buyer perspective - no change.

As much as I'm used to legal reporting being terrible, it confounds me that so much of the reporting on this one has been so wrong about that.

(It's not like it's hard to read the statute; did all the reporters just crib from one source that was wrong?)

(I'm not remotely convinced it's a good or - especially - necessary law, but it's best to argue about it and its merits or lack thereof from a factual basis, something the report there actively discourages.)

Old NFO said...

Interesting... Big brother more and more...