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Business Law 10 Articles Project

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Article 1

Student Loans вЂ" Lose Social Security Benefits If You Don’t Pay

A vast majority of people take out student loans to pay for higher education. The Supreme Court has decided to make social security benefits a means of repaying them.

No Benefits For You!

While millions borrow money to attend college and graduate school, not everyone pays this money back. The failure to pay can result from circumstances such as a slow job market, failure to finish school and health problems. Of course, there are the select few who simply welch on the repayments. The U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision on December 7, 2005, impacting people who are behind in paying their loans.

In Lockhart v. United States, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether the federal government could seize social security benefits to cover outstanding student loans. The case involved James Lockhart, a disable man, who sued to stop the government from cutting his monthly $874 check. Lockhart suffers from heart disease, diabetes and other health problems and lives in public housing in Seattle. He argued the forfeiture of part of his check made it impossible for him to continue to buy his medication and food. The Justices disagreed with Lockhart.

Under federal law, efforts to collect defaulted student loans had a 10 year limit. Put another way, the federal government was barred from hunting down delinquent payers after ten years. In the past few years, however, Congress did away with this limitation, which brought forth a conflict of law. The Social Security Act contains language protecting benefits from being seized as part of debt actions. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that such protections only apply to private individuals, not the federal government. In short, social security benefits are no longer safe.

Currently, the total balance on outstanding student loans is roughly $30 billion. Of this amount, roughly seven billion are delinquent or defaulted loans. With 25 percent of loans in the red, one can see why the government has an interest in collecting the debt.


Critique of Article 1

This article deals with the U. S. Federal Government’s ability to Seize/Garnish Social Security Benefits of individuals who are delinquent on their student loans. Personally, I don’t have any problem with this ruling. If you borrow money to go to school, you should pay it back. Failing to do so could deprive others of the same opportunity.

Article 2

FBI and FCC Seek Control of Software Industry

With government agencies, one often has to try to guess what they are hiding. A close look at a FCC policy document released at 9 p.m. on a Friday may shock you.

Controlling Software

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a policy paper that sets free speech back a few thousand years. Yep, the FCC is taking the position that computer software companies must first get approval from the FBI before they will be allowed to put software products on the market. Think about that for a minute and cringe.

The ostensible reason for Big Brother’s power grab is, once again, the pursuit of terrorists and bad, bad people. You see, Brother wants to make every software company put a backdoor in their systems that lets Big Brother access your computer on the sly to keep an eye on you. No doubt, many evil people use Adobe and Microsoft products!

Big Brother Out of Control?

Obviously, everyone is interested in catching terrorists and bad guys. The idea of giving the FBI carte blanche power over the software industry, however, goes way beyond such concerns. Let us consider a practical example.

What if construction companies had to seek approval from the FBI before building homes? The ostensible reason would be to make sure the FBI could place cameras and wire taps in every home to monitor and stop terrorist activities. Surely, nobody could disagree with such a noteworthy goal. On the other hand, how would you feel about having cameras in each room of your home?

For a counter argument, government apologists claim that the FBI would watch the computer activity of only a small number of people because the FBI doesn’t have the manpower to do anything else. This argument is so much nonsense. “Watching” computer activity doesn’t require manpower. It is a technical function carried out by a software program. The FBI already has such programs, including the controversial green lantern program. If it didn’t, why would it want this power?

FBI monitoring programs run automatically. They continually accumulate data, which can be accessed when needed. This data collection can be used in thousands of different ways by hundreds of different agencies. For instance, what if the IRS audits you? What is to stop it from accessing your computer data and looking at all of the sessions you performed online banking? Nothing. The IRS and FBI work hand-in-hand on numerous prosecutions.

The United States is supposed to be the land of the free. Just don’t assume as much when using your computer.


Critique of Article 2

This article is about the FCC and the FBI wanting to gain control over certain aspects of the U.S. Software industry. The Federal government agencies are seeking this power ostensibly to “Keep America Safe” and to “Assist the Government in the War on Terror”. The author of this article, as well as myself, feel that this is an unwarranted intrusion into areas where the government has no business.

Article 3

National ID Card? Congress Approves Electronic ID Card

Are we moving towards an Orwellian 1984 scenario in the United States? Are we still truly the land of the free? Many are predicting severe limitations to our way of life in light of the impending



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