Even with all of the massive economic problems that the United States is facing, if the government would just get off our backs most of us would do okay. In America today, it is rapidly getting to the point where it is nearly impossible to start or operate a small business. The federal government, state governments and local governments are cramming thousands upon thousands of new ridiculous regulations down our throats each year.
It would take a full team of lawyers just to even try to stay informed about all of these new regulations.
Small business in the United States is literally being suffocated by red tape. We like to think that we live in "the land of the free," but the truth is that our lives and our businesses are actually tightly constrained by millions of rules and regulations.
Today there is a "license" for just about every business activity. In fact, in some areas of the country today you need a "degree" and multiple "licenses" before you can even submit an application for permission to start certain businesses. And if you want to actually hire some people for your business, the paperwork nightmare gets far worse. It is a wonder that anyone in America is still willing to start a business from scratch and hire employees. The truth is that the business environment in the United States is now so incredibly toxic that millions of Americans have simply given up and don't even try to work within the system anymore.
Today, the U.S. government has an "alphabet agency" for just about everything. The nanny state feels like it has to watch, track and tightly control virtually everything that we do. The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies. In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600. Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long. It's just one example of how bad things have gotten.
But it's not just the federal government. The truth is that, in many cases, state and local governments are far worse. We have become a nation that is run and dominated by bureaucrats. Yes, there always must be rules in a society, but we have gotten to the point where there are so many millions of rules that the game has become unplayable.
The following are 12 examples of ridiculous regulations that are almost too bizarre to believe...
1) The state of Texas now requires every new computer repair technician to obtain a private investigator’s license. In order to receive a private investigator’s license, an individual must either have a degree in criminal justice or must complete a three year apprenticeship with a licensed private investigator. If you are a computer repair technician that violates this law, or if you are a regular citizen that has a computer repaired by someone not in compliance with the law, you can be fined up to $4,000 and put in jail for a year.
2) The city of Philadelphia now requires all bloggers to purchase a $300 business privilege license. The city even went after one poor woman who had earned only $11 from her blog over the past two years.
3) The state of Louisiana says that monks must be fully licensed as funeral directors and actually convert their monasteries into licensed funeral homes before they will be allowed to sell their handmade wooden caskets.
4) In the state of Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch. In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.
5) If you attempt to give a tour of our nation's capital without a license, you could be put in prison for 90 days.
6) Federal agents recently raided an Amish farm at 5 A.M. because they were selling "unauthorized" raw milk.
7) In Lake Elmo, Minnesota farmers can be fined $1,000 and put in jail for 90 days for selling pumpkins or Christmas trees that are grown outside city limits.
8) A U.S. District Court judge slapped a $500 fine on Massachusetts fisherman Robert J. Eldridge for untangling a giant whale from his nets and setting it free. So what was his crime? Well, according to the court, Eldridge was supposed tostate authorities and wait for them do it.
9) In the state of Texas, it doesn't matter how much formal interior design education you have -- only individuals with government licenses may refer to themselves as "interior designers" or use the term "interior design" to describe their work.
10) Deeply hidden in the 2,409-page health reform bill passed by Congress was a new regulation that will require U.S. businesses to file millions more 1099s each year. In fact, it is estimated that the average small business will now have to file 200 additional 1099s every single year. Talk about a nightmare of red tape! But don't try to avoid this rule -- it is being reported that the IRS has hired approximately 2,000 new auditors to audit as many of these 1099s as possible.
11) The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin makes it incredibly difficult to go out of business. In order to close down a business, Milwaukee requires you to purchase an expensive license, you must submit a huge pile of paperwork to the city regarding the inventory you wish to sell off, and you must pay a fee based on the length of your "going out of business sale" plus a two dollar charge for every $1,000 worth of inventory that you are attempting to sell off.
12) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.
note from the Editor: This article was originally posted at The Economic Collapse blog.