FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rubio and Warren Join Forces Against Working Folks

Photo by AFGE | CC BY 2.0

In April, a year after its introduction in the US Senate by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the US House of Representatives passed the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act, “an act to increase the role of the financial industry in combating human trafficking.”

Of four quick and easy tests for bad legislation, the bill passes three:

First, it’s “bipartisan.” While many construe bipartisanship as a good thing, “the best of both worlds,” in practice the opposite is usually true. Each party gives the other the worst thing it wants — control of this or that piece of your life — in trade. In this case, no such trade is really required, because Rubio and Warren are aligned on both elements of the issue. Both of them want control of your genitalia and both of them want control of your bank account.

Secondly, it exploits moral panic to discourage scrutiny of its actual effects. In this case, the trending buzz word is “human trafficking.” In theory, that term means sexual enslavement of adults and/or sexual exploitation of children for profit. In practice, it always boils down to just another excuse for harassing adult sex workers trying to make a living and, contra all the “for the chillllllldren” posturing, taking food out of the mouths of THEIR children (if not taking away their children entirely).

Thirdly, it doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it’s yet another attempt to conscript supposedly private sector actors into conducting (and reporting on) intrusive search-like activity that, if done directly by government employees in similar en masse fashion, might be held accountable to inconvenient standards like probable cause, warrants, etc.

The only test the bill fails is the “warm, fuzzy, and/or patriotic-sounding acronym” test. EBHTA? No CASH (Cute Acronym Skills Hero) bonus for the congressional staffer assigned to come up with that title.

The bad news is that if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, sex workers — already pushed to the economic margins in various ways by law enforcement, social stigma, and the poverty that often precedes the sex work career path — are going to have an even harder time opening or keeping checking or savings accounts at traditional banks, and therefore a harder time successfully applying for credit lines or home or car loans.

The good news is that the bill, whether it passes or not, will inevitably strengthen the counter-economy. Sex workers will turn to (or remain with) barter, cash, and cryptocurrency rather than trust what wealth they have with institutions subject to regulation by the likes of Warren and Rubio.

That eternal counter-economy serves workers, traders, and entrepreneurs as opposed to empowering politicians and their cronies. The Soviet Union ruthlessly attempted, and utterly failed, to suppress it for 70 years, even when at times it was the only thing standing between the Russian people and starvation.

Rubio and Warren and friends will fail too. Unfortunately, working people are the eggs they break in pursuit of an authoritarian omelet.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail