Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You Need a License to Dance

Some interesting thoughts by Connor Friedersdorf about why government requires permits for everything:
The normal mindset among U.S. officials is that prior permission should be required to sell legal goods to a willing buyer. Kids selling lemonade on the street are shut down. A Missouri man has been fined $90,000 for selling rabbits (he made about $200). ... If you read enough of these stories, you'll see the targeted entrepreneurs say the same thing again and again: I just had a good idea and started a business. It never occurred to me that I needed permission. And, of course, other would be entrepreneurs don't ever get started because they're too intimidated to assess and grapple with the bureaucratic hurdles. Or else the regulations are written in a way that excludes from commerce folks who are operating at a very small scale.

I've always wondered why you need permits to sell some things. Do you really need a barbers license to cut hair? Why is the government worrying about these things when there are so many, many other things to focus on? Is it that they are addicted to the money they make on permit fees?
Warren Zevon touches on this point during his downer of a song "Life'll Kill Ya": You need a permit to walk around downtown / You need a license to dance"

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