Anarcho-Capitalist State Rep Tom McMillin Doesn’t Believe MI Legislature Should Regulate Theft of Private Property

I will pay $500 to anyone who brings me the catalytic converter off State Rep. Tom McMillin’s car. Plop it on my desk and I will give you $500 in cold hard cash with no questions asked. If you bring me the A/C unit or the hot water heater from his house, I’ll throw in another $500. Again, no questions asked. 

Michigan State Representative Tom McMillin

As Scrappers illegally ravage Detroit and its suburbs for scrap metal, the scrap metal lobby’s best friend, Michigan State Representative and anarcho-capitalist Tom McMillin is adamantly blocking attempts by other members of the Michigan Legislature to identify where scrap metal is coming from. McMillin even opposes attempts to ban obvious sales of street signs and man hole covers. Yes, the very same manholes that seem to disappear daily from the streets of Detroit thanks to the anti-Detroit attitude of the WASP dominated GOP leaders like Tom McMillin.

Since the Great Recession began in 2008, the Detroit metropolitan area has become the Mecca for scrap metal collectors from around the country.  These men and women or “scrappers” who are usually laid-off autoworkers, drug addicts, high school dropouts flock to Detroit’s industrial ruins and plethora of abandoned office buildings, schools and homes and to lay claim on everything made of metal as if it were the California Gold Rush of 1849.

Things that were once considered off limits like religious or historical items are now up for grabs. Thieves have stolen church bells and in one case thieves even stole what they thought was a bronze Jesus from a crucifix at the Church of the Messiah which was actually plaster colored to look like aged bronze. Scrappers are stealing manhole covers and exhuming coffins to steal the jewelry and the metal coffins of the dead.

The situation is so bad and competition so fierce that scrappers are now stealing A/C units, furnaces and hot water heaters from homes in the suburbs while people are at work.  Thieves are stealing catalytic converters from Cadillacs and the minivans driven by soccer moms in posh suburban communities like Bloomfield Hills and McMillin’s own constituents in posh Rochester.

“If I have to be troubled to reach all the way into my pocket and pull out my driver’s license to buy a box of Sudafed, why can’t we burden the scrap yard to ask for ID when someone’s trying to unload 700 tons of steel I-beams?” -Dan Austin, Detroit Free Press

Because the scrap metal lobby went to Lansing and handed out campaign checks, the GOP controlled Michigan Legislature loosened the regulations regarding scrapping. Members of the House agreed with the scrap industry’s lobbyist that it was too much of a headache for the scrap metal shop buying the metal to ask for identification from the individual selling them the scrap. The local scrap dealer than sells the scrap to overseas buyers at huge mark ups where  they in turn use their cheap labor to recycle the metal and sell it to electronics manufacturers.

 During testimony in front of the Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee last year, police, prosecutors, utility companies and business owners told lawmakers that illegal scrapping is a plague that is a threat to businesses and individuals and endangers public safety. Such pleas from the law enforcement and businesses didn’t persuade Ron Paul Enthusiast and Anarcho-Capitalist GOP State Rep. Tom McMillin, who actually asked police and prosecutors, “How much more policing do you want businesses to do for you?”

Even the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board calls McMillin’s stance and the stance of scrap metal lobby totally ludicrous,

“The cover that scrapyard owners have used for years to justify their business is that they had no idea whether items were stolen or not. They were simple businesspeople conducting transactions. (Actually, that’s a ridiculous stance, in and of itself, but not worth arguing in light of the opportunity to get some progress clamping down on illegal scrapping.)”

McMillin and the GOP funky bunch that control the legislature believe that the scrap metal industry should be allowed regulate themselves just like the oil industry regulated themselves before BP oil spill and the banking lobby regulated themselves for eight years prior to the financial crisis.

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