Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Strangulation

Ain’t it strange how small-business startups have cratered.

In a lot of the Western/developed world, the spread of regulations really does do a great job in dissuading people from undertaking acts of marginal commercial utility that would give them and others pleasure. E.g. this facebook friend of mine:

You know, if you want to encourage people to follow the rules, you should make following the rules simpler.

I want to be able to hand-sell some of my books at local fairs this summer. Research tells me this is a losing proposition—I won’t sell more than a dozen or so copies—but it’s outdoors, and it’s social.

I want to do the right thing. Here in Michigan we have a 6% sales tax. I want to pay that—taking it out of my cut, not raising the price to buyers, because again I’m doing this to be social.

But I can’t just send the state a check. No, I have to have a state license to collect sales tax—that I’m paying out of my pocket.

But I can’t just apply for a state license. No, I have to provide a Federal Employer ID Number. Even though I’m not employing anyone.

It’s like they WANT me to be a scofflaw…

…More generally though, the strangling kudzu of red tape really is a problem to modern economies. Amongst my various friends and acquaintances I have many who want to do things that will allow them to (eventually) pay some taxes to their various governments. There are people trying (and giving up on) running food trucks/carts. There are people trying to build (rebuild/extend…) houses. There are people such as the author quoted above trying to sell books or other wares. In every case their attempts to do these things are impeded, thwarted even, by requirements to get permits and certifications and pay fees for other paperwork which some other part of the government will then inspect to confirm that something is allowed. The problem is not the requirement for a specific permit per se – seen in isolation most make some kind of sense – it is the cascade that results because every one of them requires copies of additional permits and those additional ones have their own additional certifications that need to be attached and so on.

In very few cases does the possession of the magic Permit P actually prove that what you are doing is actually safe/healthy/fireproof…, all it does is prove that you have completed the paperwork obstacle course. Indeed when Inspector I comes along to do the final check he or she is likely to spend more time checking the various bits of paper than actually verifying that your building/product etc. is in fact safe/healthy/fireproof…

All this is what it takes to avoid being a scofflaw.

It all winds up with everyone becoming a scofflaw of some sort; viewing their government as the adversary it has in fact become; and losing all respect or regard for it, with nothing but contempt and hatred remaining.

And then things start to get REALLY interesting.

(Via Sara Hoyt)

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4 thoughts on “Strangulation

  1. All of this has been foretold.

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kinds of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of lawbreakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    Everyone should recognize this passage. And it’s becoming less and less like fiction everyday.

  2. Sheesh! There is something to be said about being really lazy! A FEID and a sales tax license can both be acquired on line and take a collective 15 minutes to secure!

    You “F’-ing” millennials want us adults to scratch your balls before or after we secure those and hand them to you on a platter?

  3. try starting your own business as an owner/operator truck driver for a exercise in obscene cash upfront costs and endless bureaucratic red tape. it’s almost like they do not want people to be their own boss, because it’s way easier to control an industry made up of a few giant company’s.

  4. Funny you should mention that, Scruff–that’s exactly what my brother does, and believe me, I get an earful from him about it every single day.

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