Why Chuck Can’t Start a Business

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

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50 Responses to “Why Chuck Can’t Start a Business”

  1. #1 |  Danny | 

    suh-wheet! Most excellent.

  2. #2 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Well, that’s it. I’m finally convinced that government is the problem. You won, Radley.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    I would love to see a requirement that all high school students must start some kind of business, then they’d see all the bullshit first hand. they’d just go to the department of high school entrepreneurialism for their permits…

    good video!

  4. #4 |  JS | 

    This is the first argument for libertarianism I was ever exposed to. It was on some TV show, I don’t remember which, but the guy made the point that when the immigrants got off the boats they could start a newspaper stand or anything and work hard and save their money and get somewhere. That was the American dream! And it’s totally gone.

    A license or permit is nothing more than purchasing permission from the government to do something. Think about it-it you actually had freedom you wouldn’t need permission from the government to do it. That goes with purchasing a permit to any kind of peaceable assembly as well-that right is supposedly guaranteed in the constitution yet you can’t exercise that right unless you purchase permission from the government.

  5. #5 |  Bronwyn | 

    I wonder what hoops I have to jump through to start my business in Kentucky? … *fear*

  6. #6 |  JS | 

    I just sent the link to my town’s mayor and am sending it to the mayor of Houston and the governor of Texas as well. Not that they’ll actually look at it but who knows?

  7. #7 |  qwints | 

    Excellent video

  8. #8 |  Jeff | 

    I could’ve done without the fake folksy accent and condescending tone of voice.

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I would love to see a requirement that all high school students must start some kind of business, then they’d see all the bullshit first hand.

    I would love to see a requirement that all government officials must start some kind of business, then they’d see all the bullshit first hand.

    FIFY

    The folksy accent and condescending tone enriched the experience for me, but I see your point, Jeff.

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Another point to raise on this issue is that after all the regs, forms, agency checks, anal probes, and inspections…the state takes no accountability for doing (or not doing) their jobs. There are no quality requirements on the state and no liability they assume for their most-precious-important-for-the-children work.

  11. #11 |  Tokin42 | 

    #5 | Bronwyn | October 27th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I wonder what hoops I have to jump through to start my business in Kentucky? … *fear*

    I have to do business in KY a few times a year. I’ve had to jump through licensing hoops in every KY town I’ve been in even if I’m only there for a few hours putting up prefabbed non-structural Iron I’ve bought/assembled in a different state. Then they demand a variety of tax forms multiple times a year. It’s so annoying I tack on an additional 10% on my bids to put up with it.

  12. #12 |  JS | 

    “I would love to see a requirement that all government officials must start some kind of business, then they’d see all the bullshit first hand.”

    Amen Boyd!

  13. #13 |  Bronwyn | 

    Tokin42: Yeeks.

    My husband owns a pizza shop here in KY, and I’ve been staggered by what he has to go through, but since he’s selling food and employing people, I hoped that was the cause for all the bureaucratic bs and killer taxes.

    What I’d be doing is me, alone, at my computer, in my home-office.

    I hope (but am not holding my breath) that this means my path will be easier to navigate. Hopehope

  14. #14 |  Bad Luck Chuck | Popehat | 

    […] Radley, a brutal video: Why Chuck Can’t Start A […]

  15. #15 |  Frederick | 

    Meh. I honestly don’t want chuckie on the corner selling ganip gaknobs without a license and a visit from the health department. Or fixing my computer for that matter. He can mange to write code but can’t fill out some forms?

  16. #16 |  Dan | 

    It is easier to seek forgiveness than permission.

  17. #17 |  Bernard | 

    ‘I just sent the link to my town’s mayor and am sending it to the mayor of Houston and the governor of Texas as well. Not that they’ll actually look at it but who knows?’

    I can see it making a big difference. When you show the politicians in Texas that DC requires a license for interior decorators and Miami makes so much money out of would-be street vendors they’ll be so happy they might even send you a campaign badge.

  18. #18 |  Marty | 

    are you in business, Frederick?

    ‘he can manage to write code but can’t fill out some forms’ because code makes sense, you twit.

  19. #19 |  Brandon | 

    Oh, never mind, guys. This is all justified because Frederick is scared. That settles it, I guess.

  20. #20 |  JS | 

    Bernard “I can see it making a big difference. When you show the politicians in Texas that DC requires a license for interior decorators and Miami makes so much money out of would-be street vendors they’ll be so happy they might even send you a campaign badge.”

    hahahaha…oh sure, cheer me up. Actually I think a lot of people go along with the current Soviet level regulation of every damn thing in their whole lives mostly because they have never been exposed to the ideas of freedom before. Most Americans just goose step along with the propaganda we’ve heard our whole lives about how America is the freest country in the world, America is God’s favorite, we have to export freedom and democracy to the rest of the world, they hate us for our freedom etc. I think it’s hugely important to demonstrate that we do not live in a free country. That has to happen for the average American before we see any change.

    I promise if they send me a campaign badge I’ll tell them to stick it up their ass!

  21. #21 |  Rhayader | 

    I honestly don’t want chuckie on the corner selling ganip gaknobs without a license and a visit from the health department. Or fixing my computer for that matter.

    I just had a crazy idea: don’t buy Chuck’s food or have him fix your computer. Burdensome, I know.

  22. #22 |  Frederick | 

    Nope I’m not in business, and I’m not scared. I’m your everyday wage slave. I have no sympathy for my master’s plight. Poor Chucky has to fill out a form! This strenuous hurdle will keep him from starting his business. Oh, but he’ll be able to fill out order forms and arrange shipping, give good customer service, etc, etc, because that is so much simpler than filling out a form or applying for a license.

  23. #23 |  Kevin3% | 

    “TO LICENSE A RIGHT IS A RESTRICTION OF SAID RIGHT.”

    MURDOCK -V- COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA (City of Jeanette)
    319 US 105 (1942)

    So if one does not take the license, then one has not engaged in a contract with the state, city or feds. Logic would indicate that there would be no restriction of ones right to engage in business due to a lack of jurisdiction….right?
    Seems it is only when one asks permission and seeks a benefit that there is a claim of jurisdiction. Without jurisdiction there is no grounds for interference from the state.

  24. #24 |  JS | 

    Frederick are you serious? It’s not just one form he has to fill out, it’s a ton of forms and other paperwork and often expensive license fees designed to keep people from starting a business by our social engineer city governments. It’s just another form of extortion in most cases. The American dream was that you could own your own business and make something out of yourself, not be a wage slave as you put it.

    You honestly don’t think city, state and federal government is regulating people out of innovative businesses and into cubicles?

  25. #25 |  Rhayader | 

    Poor Chucky has to fill out a form!

    Um, or come up with a way to pay for expensive new real estate. Or go through a lengthy approval process only to be denied in a lottery. Or deal with police scrutiny for completely innocent transactions.

    Saying it’s “just filling out a form” is like saying that writing a novel is “just pushing keys on a keyboard”. It’s a stupid reductionist argument that intentionally avoids actually addressing the central issues.

  26. #26 |  Cyto | 

    @frederic

    Try this line of reasoning: every minute spent complying with government paperwork is a minute spent not running your business.

    Personal example: I ran a computer consulting and sales business in the mid 1990’s. The paperwork requirements for the sales tax collections and accounting for business tax purposes took up 30% of my time. And the money collected for the government exceeded my cut from the business. I eventually gave up the business and accepted an offer for a regular job. Yes, this was almost entirely the result of regulatory compliance.

    Here’s another important idea:
    If we didn’t have government protecting us via a myriad of agencies and regulations, would a private certification industry have arisen? (something akin to Underwriters Laboratory or Consumer’s Union) Would we be better protected by independent certification companies that are immune to “regulatory capture” via political interference?

  27. #27 |  JS | 

    Damn Ryader #24, I wish I could have said that as well as you!

  28. #28 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Saying it’s “just filling out a form” is like saying that writing a novel is “just pushing keys on a keyboard”. It’s a stupid reductionist argument that intentionally avoids actually addressing the central issues.

    AKA: what trolls do.

    By the way, Kentucky has the most awesome state initials and often makes reading posts about Kentucky much more enjoyable.

  29. #29 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    These regulations happen because larger businesses want them to happen. Citizen’s United type mischief may not be responsible for bad DA’s, but it it fully and solidly to blame for the problems raised in this video.

    The answer is antitrust law (mostly) and restrictions on lobbying by corporations. Reading your stuff for many years now, I feel like you really don’t get it, Mr. Balko. This video certainly doesn’t.

  30. #30 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    If we didn’t have government protecting us via a myriad of agencies and regulations, would a private certification industry have arisen? (something akin to Underwriters Laboratory or Consumer’s Union) Would we be better protected by independent certification companies that are immune to “regulatory capture” via political interference?

    1) We are not protected by government agencies and regulations.

    2) Yes, a free market standards/licensing option almost always rises up either in response to a) $$ opportunity due to public demand; or b) industry partnership to resolve a number of issues*. These groups respond very fast and are only viable as long as they remain fast and provide a tangible good/service. They *poof* out of existence as soon as they stop being of service or are replaced by something better.

    3) One of the nice things (IMHO as a proponent of choice) is that less expensive options remain on the market for people who want such a thing.

    Get the state out of regulating everything under the sun and “Boyd Durkin Tested and Approved” launches the next day. If I suck at it (or am corrupt or people don’t give a shit), I will be replaced by something better.

    *Among those industry issues can be everything from improving public perception to interoperability, along with dozens of other goals set by standards groups.

  31. #31 |  All linky, no thinky: special issue on anti-authoritarianism « Blunt Object | 

    […] not all that directing and overseeing enables innovation, which might make some people skeptical.  Radley Balko links to this […]

  32. #32 |  Rhayader | 

    AKA: what trolls do.

    Hah, good call. Fucking hungry bastards.

  33. #33 |  Kevin3% | 

    Frederick has admitted he is a “SLAVE”.

    Enjoy your shackles, asshole. Free men and women want nothing to do with your ilk.

  34. #34 |  Cyto | 

    The “why chuck can’t start a business” line echos the old “why can’t Johnny read” line from the 70’s. I can’t hear that without hearing Jerry Clower opine on “Why Johnny can’t read”. Funny and insightful commentary from an ex-country-comic.

    He said the craziest reason he heard as to why Johnny can’t read is because of the energy crisis (remember, this was the 70’s). From (many years old) memory, since I can’t listen to the video here:

    “Energy crisis? Ha! We didn’t have no energy crisis at South Forks Consolidated Elementary School because we didn’t have no energy of no kind. ….. I’ll tell you why Johnny can’t read. Johnny can’t read because Johnny’s parents don’t give a care whether or not Johnny can read. ”

    He goes on to detail how the 6 students at his 1 room school all learned to read despite lacking modern conveniences like heat and lights and modern school curricula. He lists the highly successful careers of 4 of his classmates and then adds “the other two…. well, they were girls – and they married well.” Hey, it was a different time.

  35. #35 |  Xenocles | 

    Well if he can’t fill out the forms he can hire someone to do it for him! See, I told you we could lick this unemployment thing!

  36. #36 |  Jon Gray | 

    @Boyd Durkin

    To further increase your appreciation for immature humor opportunities about Kentucky, there’s a state park here named Big Bone Lick. Endless source of humor.

    @Others

    I agree Frederick is largely trolling. That said, the conversation is slowly morphing into an angry mob. There are some legitimate reasons for the government to regulate business. I think that argument was somewhat embedded in the initial statistic that in the 1950s 1 in 20 people had to obtain licenses. For example, there should probably be some regulation of food products and the placement of random food carts, but it shouldn’t be as restrictive as the video demonstrated. There’s also a good reason to keep that car dealership down by the airport from having a giant gorilla balloon floating 150 feet over their lot.

    This doesn’t detract from the fact that regulations often go too far and provide difficult to navigate–we should just eliminate the nonsensical ones (like the interior designer one) and make more workable the logical ones (food carts).

  37. #37 |  Joe | 

    Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

    Government sucks at leading, so I am suggesting 2 and 3 are its only options.

  38. #38 |  luvzbob | 

    Yes there is more regulation, but there is also more available credit and other supporting resources to start a business than ever before. On the whole its never been easier. The FACTS are that the number of small businesses and the number of self-employed continues to grow and is significantly higher than a few decades ago. If over regulation was a problem the number of small businesses would shrink, but it hasn’t – demonstrating that the argument made here is factualy incorrect.

    Its no coincedence that libertarian arguments are often made by cartoons- that is about the appropriate level of substance.

  39. #39 |  anarch | 

    Yo, you got a permit for that making that video?

  40. #40 |  luvzbob | 

    P.S. I AM a partner in a small business – were doing fine thank you. Quarterly taxes are a pain in the ass, but without the everyday services we get from government – educated employees, roads, a legal system that makes contracts affordable, the internet, water, power, security … we wouldn’t exist.

    I know someone who has a small business in south america were the government doesn’t provide many of the services we take for granted. He lives in a walled compound has to pay for security guards, generally only works on a cash basis (which really limits his growth)… but hey – his taxes are low. He makes much more than I do, but in reality leads a much poorer lifestyle.

  41. #41 |  Cyto | 

    @luvzbob – education, roads, legal system, internet (internet?), water, power (power?), security….

    Add all of those up and you’ve got barely 1/3 of your tax burden – at best. Note that most libertarian ideas would only impact these “services” in positive ways – improving education, reducing the cost of “security” by limiting foreign adventurism, etc. The current “security” system includes two huge anchors that we drag around to no good effect – crony contracting to ensure votes for large defense systems and union member expansion to pay off supporters and ensure a large, well-financed support base (TSA anyone?).

    Add to this ineffective and wasteful programs like social security, welfare, medicare and medicaid and you’ll see why the “we should be grateful for everything the government provides” argument doesn’t fly around here.

  42. #42 |  Chuchundra | 

    Add all of those up and you’ve got barely 1/3 of your tax burden – at best. Note that most libertarian ideas would only impact these “services” in positive ways – improving education, reducing the cost of “security”…

    And a pony! Don’t forget, under a Libertarian regime there will be low-cost, regulation-free ponies available for all.

    Add to this ineffective and wasteful programs like social security, welfare, medicare and medicaid and you’ll see why the “we should be grateful for everything the government provides” argument doesn’t fly around here.

    And since there will no regulation of firearms, it will be a lot easier to just eat a bullet when you get too old or sick to work anymore. It’s a win-win for sure.

  43. #43 |  Cyto | 

    “There are better alternatives” =/= “Free stuff for everyone”

    “ineffective and wasteful” =/= “Crawl away and die”

    Troll fail.

  44. #44 |  Invid | 

    It’s funny how people who love the chains around their necks are so desperate to convince everyone else to love their chains too.

  45. #45 |  JS | 

    Invid “It’s funny how people who love the chains around their necks are so desperate to convince everyone else to love their chains too.”

    Yea I’ve noticed that too. Some of them have an almost panicky reaction to ideas that go against the status quo. Which is really weird because they are the status quo. I mean, if you really love Soviet style regulation of pretty much everything, then why do you feel so threatened by libertarians? You’ve got the whole country. damn near every place in America is controlled by you, so why would you be so afraid of this rag tag little group of powerless people who have nothing to threaten you with but ideas?

  46. #46 |  BoogaFrito | 

    I’m your everyday wage slave.

    So is Chuck. And it’s onerous government regulation that will ensure he–and you–stay that way.

  47. #47 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    John Gray,
    Didn’t Mark Twain say “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky because they’re always 10 years behind.”?

    Luvzbob (who might be another -zbob who got banned) wrote:

    without the everyday services we get from government – educated employees, roads, a legal system that makes contracts affordable, the internet, water, power, security … we wouldn’t exist.

    Bob, there is so much wrong with your premise that I choose not to even begin to address it. C’mon, man! Do you really think that in the absence of government education NO ONE will offer an education product?

  48. #48 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Chuchundra,
    Not exactly sure of your “eat a bullet” comment, but turning to collectivism for a good/service does nothing to reduce costs or improve service. It simply spreads the cost across all people.

    Personally, I want health care to improve in quality and decrease in cost. As such, the government is the last entity that should be involved…because collectivist health care will result in increased total costs and a decrease in quality.

    In fact, locking all of government in a padded and window-less cell would greatly help. Yes, I literally* want to ship everyone in government to a padded cell what has no windows.

    *I really do mean “literally” and not “figuratively”.

  49. #49 |  Why Chuck Should Start a (Local) Tea Party | The League of Ordinary Gentlemen | 

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  50. #50 |  nadine | 

    Nice job of cherry picking regulations. I’m not an apologist for bureaucracy, but part of the reasons that businesses register with government is so they pay sales tax. In places that are loathe to raise personal income taxes, property taxes etc, the sales tax has become a means of funding government. (I’m not arguing for either means.) If ‘Chuck’ is starting a business, one that competes with MY business, then not charging sales tax would definitely be a competitive advantage, illegal and frankly not very community friendly.

    Regarding the interior designer issue. Genuine interior designers go thru extensive schooling and know a lot more than paint colors and hanging pictures. Interior designers have to know about a lot of the same issues that architects know – life safety, MP&E issues, green issues, health issues (offgassing, flamibility), and life cycle costs of materials specified. This is why they are tested. Let me repeat – anyone can call themselves and interior decorator. Chuck is being a douche and claiming a professional title he doesn’t own.

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