“You Didn’t Pay Child Support? We’ll Make it Harder for You to Work”

Yanking drivers’ and professional licenses from dads who fall behind on their payments? David Henderson on a widespread government policy that makes little sense as a way of maximizing the payment rate for court-ordered obligations, somewhat more sense if seen as a vehicle for sentimental vengefulness. [EconLog]


  • Isn’t “vehicle for sentimental vengefulness” a concise description of Family Court?

  • In addition to the debtors’ prison argument raised by the student, there is also the devaluation of license-suspension as a sanction against dangerous driving. In a community where license-suspension is widely viewed as capricious, the unsafe driver will feel less inhibition about continuing to drive (and endangering the public) despite a suspended license.

    On a related question, I have opposed car seizures for minor non-safety related offenses like cruising for prostitutes, largely on Eight Amendment grounds (“excessive fine”). AS a test of good faith, I would require communities wanting to institute non-safety seizures to demonstrate, in interests of proportionality, that they already were seizing cars of drivers using a license suspended for *safety* reasons (and only safety reasons).