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Hey, Dad? I've got some good news for you,...

An Italian court has ruled that parents have to provide child support, even if their "children" are adults, rich, and highly educated. This case involved a 30-year old lawyer with a several hundred thousand dollar trust fund who had turned down job offers that didn't interest him. But that didn't matter to the court:

The judges said a parent's duty of maintenance did not expire when their children reached adulthood, but continued unchanged until they were able to prove either that their children had reached economic independence or had failed to do so through culpable inertia. An adult son who refused work that did not reflect his training, abilities and personal interests could not be held to blame.

"You cannot blame a young person, particularly from a well-off family, who refuses a job that does not fit his aspirations," the judges said.

I can't? Why not? What do his "aspirations" have to do with anything?
Commentators warned the decision could depress Italy's already low birth rate and discourage people from leaving home, getting married and having children.
Did anybody warn that the decision is simply insane?
Not everyone saw the ruling as a loafer's charter, however. "The verdict is innovative because of its precision," said lawyer Cesare Rimini. "The time limit must be reasonable, as must the aspirations of the young person."
Oh. Well, I take it back. That is precise. I bet it won't lead to further litigation. And people wonder why the European economies continue to stagnate.

But what's instructive is that all the news coverage of this ruling, including the people (for and against) chosen by the media to be quoted, focuses on the wisdom of this ruling as social policy. The idea that it's just wrong to be confiscating property from adults to be given to other, able bodied, adults is never even broached.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 6, 2002 6:17 PM.

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