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The states have started bringing back the debtors’ prison. Poor people that can’t pay court costs often find themselves imprisoned for the inability to pay court costs, many of which get tacked onto a fine or fee that was imposed on them. Arizona throws a maintenance fee on top of your prison sentence — something that was standard in the old days of the debtors’ prisons, which would lead to people being perpetually jailed for minor debts or offenses.

Which raies the question: With the takeover of the student loan industry by the government (an amendment in the Affordable Health Care Act [Obamacare]), how long before the government begins jailing folks for failure to pay? Will they use the new MAP 21 Act (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) tacked onto the transportation bill to keep you from emigrating or expatriating? Better yet, if you do escape the United States, will the United States be successful in their attempts to create a “minimum global tax” — expanding IRS authority outside the borders of the United States? (Unlikely.) They’ve already taken away the ability to use bankruptcy, thanks to the doctor students that abused the system in the 1970s to avoid their loans. (Once again, thanks Baby Boomers! The worst generation ever.)

I had this discussion with my wife this morning, in which she asked, “What’s the alternative?” Answer: You could garnish wages. You hit their credit rating. The market has a system to handling deadbeats. Putting people in jail so they can 1) not earn and pay their bills, and 2) cost more money by putting them in jail — remember, they’re incarcerated, so they’re not going to be paying off those “maintenance fees” is stupid. It’s unproductive at best, counterproductive at worst.

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