Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stupid Busybody Bureaucrats

Government has always been hostile to businesses, especially small businesses.  Small businesses are the backbone of the United States economy employing more than 90% of the current labor force.  Often times, the local government ordinances used to regulate business are more oppressive than beneficial.  Just ask eight-year-old Daniela Earnest about government interference:

Eight-year-old Daniela Earnest has made lemonade out of lemons in more ways than one this week.

Hoping to raise money for a family trip to Disneyland, the Tulare girl opened a lemonade stand Monday. But because Daniela didn't have a business license, the city of Tulare shut it down the same day.

From that came a radio station's offer of Disneyland tickets to Daniela's family -- in exchange for 30 cups of lemonade -- and an appearance in front of the Tulare City Council on Tuesday night that will likely lead to a compromise allowing her lemonade stand and other pint-sized business ventures to operate legally.

The story began Monday morning when Daniela and her stepmother, Marisa Earnest, set up shop at Cartmill Avenue and Hillman Street in north Tulare. The lemonade was freshly squeezed and priced at $2 for a 32-ounce plastic cup.

Richard Garcia, a Tulare code enforcement officer, happened to be at the same intersection to remove illegal signs left behind by someone selling tetherball poles.

Garcia told Daniela and her stepmother that their lemonade stand -- on the northwest corner of the busy intersection -- was not safe, and also that they needed a business license to sell lemonade.

He helped the pair load their ice chest and equipment into their car and then called city planners to find out where they could relocate.

"He wasn't out there on lemonade patrol," said Frank Furtaw, Tulare's code enforcement manager. Garcia was merely applying the city's code enforcement laws equitably, Furtaw said.

Tulare officials said they cannot recall ever shutting down a lemonade stand before this week. But it's not altogether uncommon. Authorities across the nation have done the same. And in Fresno, a Huntington Boulevard shaved ice machine run by a resident mostly so neighborhood kids could get a sno-cone on hot days was shut down by a Fresno code enforcer in June 2008.

So this guy, Richard Garcia, was so bored with his job that he decided to shutdown a little girl’s lemonade stand.  How stupid is that?  The girl’s stepmother was with her, so it wasn’t like she didn’t have a parent present, and she was learning a valuable lesson in entrepreneurship.  In the end, she most certainly did but not the lesson neither her stepmother or she could have expected.

You see, the biggest roadblock to American businesses is and always has been the government.  They pass rules and regulations that may be well-intentioned, but have no regard for the rights of the individual.  What about the property rights of the owner?  Does that not trump all the rules and regulations of all levels of government.  I know there are rules in place for protecting other people’s property, but could not such infractions be settled in civil courts?  After all, if I own a bakery that catches on fire and it burns down my neighbor’s business, am I not liable anyway?  Especially if the fire was started by my own neglect.

A business friendly government is one that leaves business dealings to the business owners and only intervenes, not to prevent, but to prosecute criminal offenses perpetrated by businesses.

What we have now is a bunch of moral busybodies shutting down a little girl’s lemonade stand.  Soon your Craig’s list dealings, your eBay sales and purchases, and your yard sales will be subject to local restrictions.  Mark my words.  These kind of people will not stop because they are exactly the kind of losers who are attracted to public “service.”  You will never have the right people working for the government because everyone has their own selfish desires and a bureaucrat usually has a desire to shape the world in their image.