When You Try To Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps But Can’t

My friend Greg and I often discuss how the government stifles so many hard-working people, and keeps them down.  I just wanted to share some examples of this.

Take this story of Esteban Narez, a ranch hand from California.  To make ends meet he does a lot of odd jobs.  At some point he realized he could improve his life a great deal if he could only learn how to shoe horses.  So, he enrolls into Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School, only to be rejected because he lacks a high school diploma.  So now the government is trying to get him to take english, algebra, history, and a bunch of general high school courses.  The sad part is, he doesn’t have time for all that nonsense.  It’s useless to him and he doesn’t have the time to waste on it, nor the money!  He just wants to learn how to learn to shoe horses so he can move up a little in life.  But can he?  Nope.  In order to have permission to better yourself, somebody in government decided that everyone must first have a high school diploma, instead of letting people be who they are.  Sadly, these sorts of arbitrary regulations are not helping the poor, they’re actually holding these people down.

This general idea of holding skilled people back because they lack some worthless accreditation is commonplace in this country.  Today you need a government permission slip of some kind to do almost anything, and these slips are often expensive, time consuming to acquire, and are just a huge hassle.  I mean, why do you need a permission slip to paint homes?  Why do you need a license to trim people’s hedges?  To watch small kids in a daycare?  It’s stupid.  A struggling family could make an extra $30,000-$40,000 doing handyman work and painting, but nope.  You don’t have your license!

You may be thinking that these licenses are there to protect the public and ensure quality of service, such as filtering out charlatans and quacks, but you’d be very wrong.  As Dr. Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota, a preeminent researcher on licensing, points out in the above video, these licenses do next to nothing.  The only ones who benefit from the licenses are those who are able to afford the license fees and waste the time to get them, especially when potential competitors cannot, giving certain businesses an edge over their competition.

Here’s an example.  Here are some amazing cooks, wanting to earn a living sharing their good food, and customers are buying it up!  The problem is, they’re operating their small restaurants out of home-made food-trucks. They just pull up somewhere in town and start serving food, and the people love it.  But then the government steps in and shuts them down.  The local restaurants can’t have competition from these guys!  They call call their buddies in the local government and ask them to run these pests away!

Or maybe you’re like me and would like to eat homegrown food from local farmers in your area.  Too bad!  The government has banned these farmers from advertising.  If they even try to tell you they exist, they will incur huge fines.  The big mega-farms can’t have competition from local farmers!

Or take this next business.  Here’s a young guy wanting to earn a living sharing his passion selling retro video games. He invested in a giant inflatable Mario and the customers were pouring in.  Then some snobby person from the city thought it looked tacky and they made him take it down.  Having a beautiful city means more than the welfare of the actual people living there.  Can’t advertise unless you do it the way they tell you to, which often means buying an expensive billboard on some special sign post they designate, and they’ll charge you all kinds of money for the privilege.  Only the already successful, richer businesses can afford it, and to the rest, it’s a polite way of giving you the middle finger.  Just another way they hold people down.

I feel especially bad for this next guy.  Here’s a foreigner who came here with a dream of a better life.  He saved, worked hard, and over time built up a small chain of laundromats.  Good for him.  But can he just be left to enjoy the fruits of his labor?  Nope!  The police started seeing some poorer, shady customers using his laundromats, so they went undercover and tried selling them illegal merchandise, hoping to bust them; unfortunately, some of these customers took the bait, and who pays?  For some strange reason, the laundromat owner.  The government used “nuisance” laws against him, and treated his business the same way they would a street corner that solicits prostitutes!  Now the police are threatening to shut down the business, taking everything this man has worked his whole life to build.  And for what?  He didn’t do anything!  And take a look at his laundromat.  The machines are new, the place is clean.  Leave the guy alone!

You don’t even have to be a business to be hassled by the control system.  Take my home state of Missouri.  Like everywhere else, we have politicians spending too much money, so the state is resorting to creative ways to increase tax revenues.  Now we have police going around, issuing fines for everything, and how could anyone ever keep up with the ever-changing, totally arbitrary, nonsensical rules?  In this next video, we find an impoverished family being fined for having BBQs in the yard, for lacking curtains, for having mismatched blinds, and for not having a screen door.  What in the world.  Already struggling to get by?  Great.  Now let’s make your life even more difficult by giving you expensive fines.  And what’s even more sad is these folks didn’t have the money to pay the fines so they had to take out payday loans, which have crazy interest rates, further impoverishing this family.  Leave them alone!

I could go on and on about this stuff.  I can’t stand it.  Years ago my parents tried to open a daycare within their church.  Then some government person came in and kept asking them to change this, change that, and on and on.  Over the course of two years, my parents had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to renovate the church building, which the daycare was not bringing in.  The business went under, not because the children’s parents were unhappy with the service, but because of the government.

It’s sad to see people being held down when they’re trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  But in my opinion, governments more often than not serve the interests of the rich and elite, both locally and federally.  They use these sorts of regulations and arbitrary rules to hold the rest of us down and eliminate competition.

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