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February 27, 2023

The most powerful people in society don't have to be qualified for their jobs. This may explain our problems.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

I know I’ve said this before but it continues to astonish me that some of the most important jobs in society go to people who have no experience, training or clue.

You can’t get a job as an accountant if you can’t count. You won’t be hired as an architect if you’ve never designed a building. You can’t be a trucker if you’re not licensed to drive.

None of the prerequisites above — or any prerequisites beyond age and citizenship — apply to being hired to serve in Congress. You just need to trick people into voting for you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re capable of doing the job.

This applies to just about every elected office. It also applies to nonelected offices.

I bring this up in light of news coverage of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on internet regulation. Justice Elena Kagan apparently made a very good point, saying, “You know these are not, like, the nine greatest experts on the internet.”

Justice Samuel Alito said he was “completely confused,” Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said she was “thoroughly confused,” and Justice Clarence Thomas, after hearing an explanation, said, "I don't understand it."

And, yet, we’re waiting for their decision.

I’m also waiting for the justices’ TikTok videos. They’ve got to start their web educations somewhere.

I’m not sure what we can do about this (and it’s not often that I don’t have a brilliant solution). After all, the incompetents in government are the people who would have to legislate competency requirements. That’s not happening.

Maybe at the Supreme Court, at least, some young clerks could help out.

I do have a way of making this situation at least seem better.

Make a list of all the elected officials you love to hate and then compose rejection letters for them explaining why they’re unqualified for the most menial job you have to offer. Send them to said officials and post them on your favorite social media.

If nothing else, you’ll feel superior — because you are superior.

Terrible loans. Have you ever wanted to rent an Indian tribe?

No, I haven’t either, but, apparently, it’s possible. I learned this last week from a proposed class action filed in federal court in Illinois on behalf of persons who got loans from Eagle Valley Ventures, a company supposedly owned by the Tonto Apache Tribe.

It turns out, though, that, according to the lawsuit, the tribe has only 140 members and the lending was being done — and most of the profits were being kept — by a California company called Fast Auto Loans Inc. This “rent-a-tribe scheme” was designed, according to the complaint, to allow Fast Auto to get around usury limits on interest rates that don’t apply to sovereign Indian tribes.

The suit also claimed that a law firm, Rosette LLP, created the scheme, matching small tribes with investors. “The existence of multiple lenders purportedly belonging to very small Native American tribes is indicative of a ‘rent-a-tribe’ arrangement.”

Or maybe those tiny tribes were really good with money. I don’t know.

What I do know is that anyone taking out one of those loans is not really good with money. The named plaintiff is this case “had an amount financed of $1,000 and an annual percentage rate of 396.54%.”

Someone should have been too embarrassed to sue.

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