The increasing problem of overcriminalization (of private citizens and businesses, that is — policemen and regulators almost always get a free pass) has been noted before. In summary, overcriminalization threatens our economic liberties and undermines the rule of law. Matt Kaiser, moreover, describes overcriminalization as a reverse or negative lottery. He writes (emphasis by us):
It’s been said before, but probably bears repeating: we have more than 4,000 statutes in the United States Code that provide for criminal punishment — 215 of these relate to false statements alone. There are more than 300,000 regulations that allow for criminal enforcement, according to former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh. As … Judge [Alex] Kozinski has said, in light of this ballooning of federal criminal law, “most Americans are criminals and don’t even know it.” The … federal criminal justice system is basically a lottery that all of us are entered in that no one wants to win.