Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finally Putting A Finger In The Dike

Yesterday afternoon I drove through the spitting snow to a local theater to check out 'Atlas Shrugged Part 1', the movie based on the first part of the 1,100-page tome written in 1957 by libertarian Ayn Rand. Funded almost solely by entrepreneur John Aglialoro, this low-budget indie film--none of the major studios would touch it--opened Friday, April 15 to nationwide audiences. Aglialoro hopes to release parts 2 & 3 similarly on Tax Day 2012 and 2013. And while watching this initial chapter of a great story about government intervention run amok that really rings true while admittedly painting the good guys and bad guys in broad strokes, I was struck by the timeliness of this movie given the reversal earlier this week of a nasty loophole in current PACA law. It seems that court decisions as far back as the 1980's had favored defaulters who argued that sellers, when renegotiating payment plans with slow or no-pay receivers of merchandise in hopes of getting paid eventually, were actually voiding their PACA trust protection by doing so. In retrospect, it's incredible to think that it took this long for the USDA to see that water was sloshing in through a gaping hole in the dike, but I really shouldn't be surprised. In the end, it took a groundswell of comments from sellers who apparently were just damn tired of the government protecting the criminals. The new regulation went into effect on April 13, not a minute too soon given the state of collections within the produce industry. So finally, one for the good guys. And when these important laws are being forged in the future, the shapers of those words need to always remember the 'evildoers'. When backed against a wall of their own making, they will turn truth into fiction and rules into interpretations for their own benefit, which in turn negates verbal handshakes that we all use as commonly as breathing in the course of our daily business lives. Oh, by the way, go see the movie. It killed. Later, Jay

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