Monday, January 03, 2011

Legal vs. Right

There are many things that are legal--especially for government--but they aren't "right". I doubt there's anything in New Jersey's constitution that forbids it, but what I want to know is: what rationale is given for this legalized theft?

New Jersey isn't giving up its effort to seize unused money on gift cards and traveler's checks.

Lawmakers voted last year to allow the seizure of cards after two to three years as a way to raise about $80 million and help balance the state's budget.

If the rationale is "The state wants/needs money", and that's enough of a justification, then the next question I ask is, "What can the state not do in order to raise money, besides coin or print its own?"

There's something wrong with us as Americans when we don't resist this kind of abuse with physical action. We need to impose and enforce limits on our government, at all levels--and not just vice versa.


Rhymes With Right said...

The best analogy i can make is to money in bank accounts that are abandoned, refunds owed by utilities, or other "abandoned property". The state takes those things and, after a period of time, they become state property if the owner does not step forward. The idea is that the private entity holding the property or money should not be permitted to profit in that case.

That said, the difference here is that the time period for these gift cards is significantly shorter, and it does not appear that the state will keep some sort of registry of the cards, advertise what cards are having value confiscated so that the owners can retrieve it, or give the owners some period of time after its seizure to redeem their property. So yeah, this is simply a naked grab for cash.

PeggyU said...

That's disgusting! If the card does not have an expiration date on it, the customer should retain use of it. What's next? Dormant bank accounts? Oh, wait ... they already appropriate those unless you claim them! My son's savings account was closed out for inactivity (the time limit here is one year of no activity), and we had to fill out paperwork to get the money back from the state government. It's amazing how quickly time can get away from you!

DADvocate said...

As the moral of Aesop's Fable "The Wolf and the Lamb" say, "Any excuse will serve a tyrant." Our governments are filled with petite tyrants on up from the principal and superintendent of schools in Sanford, NC to Washington, D.C.