While researching the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (the topic of tomorrow's column), I came across a novel (to me, anyway) justification for legislation in this area. "Some have suggested that there is no call to rein in the activities of individual choice," says Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), one of the bill's main sponsors. "But misjudgments affect society as a whole. There is nothing in Internet gambling that adds to the GDP or makes America more competitive in the world. Indeed, if an individual cannot repay his or her credit card debts, neighbors will be subject to higher interest rates."
Leach seems blithely unaware that he is making a case for regulating everything people buy. But maybe I'm not giving him enough credit (in contrast with Visa and MasterCard, which according to Leach are giving people too much credit). For all I know he could be hard at work on the Unlawful Big-Screen TV Purchase Enforcement Act or the Unnecessarily Luxurious Refrigerator Prevention Act.