Coddling Scofflaws

Alysia Finley has another of her cogent opinion pieces, this one centered on the failure of Progressives in the several government levels and at our colleges and universities to punish miscreants and how widespread those Leftist protections of misbehaviors are. One set of consequences of the coddling jumped out at me.

If they forget to pay other bills, the government has their backs. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has effectively capped all credit-card late fees at $8. The CFPB also plans to cap bank overdraft fees at a nominal amount, meaning spendthrifts needn’t worry about getting penalized for overdrawing their checking accounts. And if they don’t want to pay rent, cities including New York and Los Angeles have imposed regulations that make it prohibitively difficult to evict tenants.

Finley was writing specifically about…misbehaving…students at Columbia, but the failures generalize, as do the consequences of excusing the failures.

“Forgetting” to pay bills will have consequences with the local merchants, including the major chains, all of whose establishments are locally run.

Being “late” paying off credit card debt will lead to difficulty getting a credit card renewed and in getting another credit card: getting access to credit will be harder and more expensive. The availability for scofflaws of cards other than prepaid, and at higher rates, will become emphasized. Credit difficulty goes beyond the card, too; it’ll expand to access to mortgages and access to rent (landlords run their own credit checks), among other credit needs.

Overdrawing checking accounts as a matter of routine will lead to closed checking accounts, difficulty opening any other checking accounts, and more trouble with local merchants who will start refusing to accept checks from folks who routinely bounce them. And this: banks and merchants heretofore would treat a bounced check as a mistake rather than the kiting felony that it is, charge the fee, and everyone moved on. No more. Those who frequently bounce checks will find themselves more likely to be charged with the felony.

Making tenant eviction over nonpayment of rent will make it more difficult for renters to rent in the first place, greatly increase the initial deposits required, and reduce the amount of houses and apartments available to rent at all.

All of that, too, will increase the cost of credit and of housing for the rest of us.

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