America’s Poor Living in Law-Free Zone

Related to Friday’s post about DC cutting funds for legal services, my colleague Ian Millhiser had a nice post yesterday about how one of the things poor people need to do without in America is adequate legal representation with one study indicating that as much as 80 percent of poor people’s legal needs go unmet. Even if you think that’s exaggerated, it’s clear enough as soon as you think about it that many of their needs will necessarily go unmet. This makes something of a sham out of the rule of law in the United States, as legal rights are worthless without a reasonable means to enforce them.

And it doesn’t need to be this way. As Ian writes, “At the low end, Germany and Finland spent three times as much of their gross domestic product as we do on civil legal services for the poor. At the high end, England outspends the United States twelve times.”