James Bond, a SCORE counselor and Workshop Director for SCORE sent in the following comments to the article “Is the American Dream Dead? Not If We Have Something To Say About It“:
“I read how in Utah an African descendent woman was making some extra money braiding hair, and she got shut down. Cosmetology schools rallied cosmetologists throughout the state and gave students throughout the state the day off so they could go to the state capitol and speak to the legislature about why it is critical to human safety that braiding hair require a 3-year cosmetology education… even though the programs do not even cover hair braiding.
And even if they did cover hair braiding, the idea that someone would need a 3-year education (or anything) is preposterous. It’s bullying by the powerful and organized against the lone citizen trying to make a living.
Their reason for making the state require a permit is the same reason major cities require taxi permits.
In NYC alone, it costs more than a million dollars for a taxi permit. And why? They say the public will be harmed. But can they demonstrate than anyone has ever been harmed? In fact, the opposite is true. By inflicting strict permit requirements, competition is drastically reduced, harming the public.
The reality is, the permitting process is how those with power block the little guy from competing. It’s how they create and protect their monopoly.
And when you listen to the politicians who support this type of permitting, they are naive and fearful that voting against a powerful organized constituency could be the end of their political life. So instead of defending the little guy, they put shackles on the individual who simply wants to make a living.
Oddly enough, it’s the Federal Trade Commission that should be stopping this, because these entities are using government power to limit the public’s choices.
In essence, they are using the government at the state level to keep out competition. And no one’s stopping them. As long as their reasoning sounds somewhat plausible… “that people will be harmed unless the government steps in…” and as long as these groups can be mobilized so politicians fear crossing them, it will only continue to become more and more impossible to start a business in America.
Pretty soon a child won’t even be able to open a lemonade stand in front of their home, or sell Girl Scout Cookies on their front lawn… Oh wait! That’s already happened.
If you are truly serious about wanting to help entrepreneurism in America, what you really need to do is take action against the Federal Trade Commission for allowing organized groups to use state laws to strengthen their monopolies by eliminating competition. Their anti-trust mandate requires that they over-ride state laws that are anti-competitive.
But instead, they take no action to protect the public, allowing the powerful to get more powerful, while individuals and the public lose.
Here’s a simple rule that would stop this, somewhat.
To enact a certification of someone’s livelihood, you’d have to PROVE (or at least demonstrate) that a percent of people (say 3%) who currently use a service have actually been harmed, for a new regulation to apply to any industry in America. Financial institutions… that could easily be proven. Hair braiding, or independent taxis… there’s no way they could prove that a percent of the population has EVER been harmed by a lack of certification.
The criteria now is, “in case something bad (might) happen, we need to take action, so no harm comes to citizens.” By that standard, ALL homes and structures must be able to withstand a meteor hit, as thousands fall out of the sky every year. Meteor hits on buildings is a real “possibility” and therefore, by today’s standard, it is only a matter of time before structural standards require that every building could resist a meteor hit.
Of course, this is ridiculous. But it’s just as ridiculous that taxis require onerous, competition-killing permits, that hair braiding requires competition-killing permits, and that the number of these types of permits is increasing at such a rate that the America, the home of our planet’s entrepreneur, is quickly becoming unrecognizable as a home to the nation’s businesses.
It’s laughable to hear politicians say, look at Steve Jobs. Under today’s onerous local, regional and state requirements, take a look at how many regulations he’d be breaking by launching an electronics business out of his garage.
So, it’s not the tax credits that will restore America to entrepreneurial greatness.
It’s returning America to a time where EVERY CITIZEN could LAUNCH a business without being hassled and required to have some sort of permit and certification.
Work on this, and you will fix America. Work on this, and I would move mountains to support you.”
SCORE Counselor and past Workshop Chairman
President, U.S. Management, LLC