So... What's this all about? Well... a couple weeks back I came across a blog called The Economic Collapse. And by what I can only describe as blind luck the first two articles I came across blamed [the economic mess du jour] largely on Republicans and the Democrats that went along with them. So I though 'whoa-hey! Another liberal blog!' And I was all set to put it up for a Gold Star. Yeah... Um... Good thing I dug a little deeper. LOL. The first tell-tale sign was all the ads for Silver, Gold and Platinum Coins and 'Emergency Food' across the top. That's... a little bit too Glenn Beck-ish for me. So I read further, and... Yeah... This one's a hall of SHAMER, big time.
Article after article of intellectual dishonesty, writ large. And don't get me wrong... Some of these? DO manage to make some good points! But these are lost in a sea of blaming Liberals ("Socialists," actually) and distorting the claims just enough to take them beyond the realm of 'interesting examples' and right into the territory of the truly absurd. And there is one such post that I want to use to show you just how low-down and intellectually dishonest they are. This is from "Suffocated By Red Tape - 12 Ridiculous Regulations That Are Almost Too Bizarre To Believe." I'd like to take this on, point by point, to show how they operate and display exactly what the author is NOT telling you. Because... if you're making a "good point" there should be no reason to be intellectually dishonest about it! If you're RIGHT, you shouldn't have to LIE. Also, I'm going to *star* some of these. The ones that get *starred* I'll have a little more to say about at the end. And remember: These are all (supposedly) the fault of LIBERALS, those damned Socialists!
#1 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.(*) This is a prime example of a BARRIER TO ENTRY. I'll explain what that is at the bottom. Is it bullshit? Usually, yes. Is it LIBERAL? Oh, hell no! But, more on that farther down.
#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.(*) This also falls under the 'barrier to entry' category, but there's some intellectually dishonesty thrown in for good measure. See... take a good look at the story he linked to. First of all, it's $50 per year or $300 for life. Second of all, it's not a tax on BLOGGERS, it's a licensing fee for BUSINESSES. Is it excessive, when applied to bloggers? Well... sure USUALLY. But how much money do Arianna Huffington or Matt Drudge make from their blogs? If you're GOOD AT IT, then it might not be so excessive. And? If you don't want to pay? Just don't sell ads. No big deal there - especially if those ads only net you $11 a year! In Google's AdSense's terms, it would take you just over NINE YEARS to get paid AT ALL at that rate! So why even bother? (Disclosure: I should make my first hundred, and finally get paid, after 2 years of blogging, in about a month or so.) Just take the ads down and your "Free Speech" is completely untouchable. (Remember: It's "free" speech, not "paid" speech!) And, OK, fine... Do I think it's a dumb law? Or one that needs to be altered or amended? YES. Yes, I do. But if you're going to argue that - and I think it SHOULD be argued - WHY do you have to be dishonest about it? The law is absurd enough on its own! If you have to distort the reality even more to make your point, MAYBE YOU DON'T HAVE A POINT!
#3 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.Nanny-state bullshit? Perhaps. (Although after recently going through crown-extension surgery, and getting three different holes drilled in the same tooth by a guy who I thought was being pretty chincy with the Novocaine? Man: BRUSH YOUR TEETH, KIDS! Because that SUX!) Here's the thing... If the STATE provides the toothpaste? And the kids (presumably) own toothbrushes? HOW, exactly, is this "suffocating" the day-care businesses? Seems to me that this is actually a GOOD program, that works JUST FINE, and it's the John Stossel Conservatives who are whining over nothing. And considering that Medicaid covers dental, it would seem this is a good cost-savings measure as well. But.. you know... never let facts get in the way of a good story, right?
#4 If you attempt to give a tour of our nation's capital without a license, you could be put in prison for 90 days.All I can say is, one: (*). And two: The sentence is absurd, but the motivation behind ALL of the (*)'s entries is hardly a LIBERAL one. (I'll get to that at the end.)
#5 A reader named Gene recently shared his regulatory horror story with us....I'm not going to dignify "Gene's story" with a response, other than to say that "anecdotal evidence sure is convincing, isn't it?" I can't verify ANY of these claims, nor do I know ANYTHING about "Gene" or his "Business." If there's any legitimacy to this, maybe they should have found an example from a verifiable source, no? Just sayin'.
#6 Federal agents recently raided an Amish farm at 5 A.M. in the morning because they were selling "unauthorized" raw milk.Damn! I'm never even UP by 5 O'Clock in the morning! Although... I suppose that's what makes it a such a good time to have a raid! OK, putting aside that the link provided is to the "World Nut Daily," I was able find this story elsewhere, so we can assume it's legit. First of all: You can sell Raw Milk, if you slap a warning label on it. DID they? I don't know. It doesn't say. They say they don't sell to the public, but it's unclear if that's true or not. (And the fed's had to find out SOME HOW, right?) And while I'm all for letting people make their own choices - bad as those choices may be - I'm going to take on these "natural food" whack-jobs (many of whom are Liberal, yes, I know) right now and recommend that they look up a guy name Louis Pasteur, and learn a little bit more about what the world was like before he came along. Raw milk, unregulated, is dangerous. Period. And arguing otherwise is the closest thing Liberals have to dogma. (Actually, I'll come right out and say it: Vegan, Organic, Gluten-Free, All-Natural, etc...? Is nothing more than Un-Scientific Liberal dogma. And it's every bit as full-of-shit as Conservative Dogma is.) But whatever. Maybe their milk wasn't germ infested. OK, fine. But what about everyone else's? Folks, these regulations are in place for a GOOD REASON: Public Health. Do I have a problem with some aspects of the corporate dairy industry? You betcha: The use of Hormones, for example. But PASTEURIZATION is not one of my qualms. (And the "raw eggs" example is just stupid, because pretty much everyone COOKS their eggs before they eat them.) In any case, this is a perfect example of a regulation that a LIBERAL GROUP (crunchy vegan's, whole-food hippies) would be perfectly happy to strike down! (But which this liberal would disagree with them on.) And that shows two things: (1) "Liberals" are an intellectually and philosophically diverse bunch, unlike the single-minded Conservatives. And (2) You can therefore hardly blame Liberals, in general, for this regulation no matter how you feel about it! There's COMMON GROUND here between Libertarians and certain (somewhat extreme) Liberal Sub-Groups! (Although this is one time I'm thanking God that they haven't bothered to find it!)
#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.(*). Just... (*).
(That's a *star*, BTW, not an asshole! The asshole is they guy who wrote this drivel!)
#8 A U.S. District Court judge slapped a 5oo dollar 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 to call state authorities and wait for them do it.This the one that REALLY pissed me off. $500 fine, just for being a good guy, huh? No good deed goes unpunished, huh? Well, buried deep down in this more honest story about what happened is a little detail that the Right-wing blogger left out: Far from freeing the netted whale properly, he found that he was unable to do this and merely cut his lines, letting the whale swim away still tangled in the nets! Hmmm... It seems to me that if the guy couldn't do the job PROPERLY, maybe, just maybe, he should have, oh... I don't know... called state authorities and waited for them do it! Also not mentioned? The fact that the fine was reduced from $100,000 (holy crap!) down to $500. So, again, far from this being a case of the State Bureaucracy running amok, it is actually an example of the use of discretion to make sure the laws don't get applied inappropriately. Can we have a debate about the necessity of these laws? Sure we can. Can we have a debate about the appropriateness of the penalties? Absolutely. But WHY can't we at least have an intellectually honest one?!
#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.Another classic case of (*).
#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.Part of me would love to say, "See? The stimulus worked! Thousands of new jobs!" But, I'm afraid that some asshat from another other blog might come by and read what I have to say, and I'd hate for them to use that [throw-away joke] as an example of "how Liberal's think." (But watch someone do it anyway!) And another part of me would be perfectly have to concede this one single point and agree that it's bullshit. And yet another part of me wants to say "boo-frickin-hoo..." A little bit of paperwork, "oh my farquing guard!"
But we're right back to classic intellectual dishonestly, writ large. A few points, from that very same story they linked, that were left out? (1) This this really all started in provisions under the 2008 GEORGE BUSH budget. (That damned liberal!) and (2) There's a floor that leaves out the smaller retailers. As usual, this is another classic case of them exaggerating the effects of something that BUSH did, and then blaming it on "liberals." And fine... maybe Obama contributed to it further. Fine. But again: Why can't we just be honest and tell the whole story if we're going to debate it?! WHY DO THEY HAVE TO LIE?!
#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.Finally a point I might concede. This one does seem a bit stupid. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find much else on it, so I guess I'll just have to leave it at that. I am left wondering, however, how this can possible be enforced. My lease is up, I close my doors, I walk away. If that's really a crime? The yeah, I'll give them this one. But hitting 1 for 11 (.091) won't keep you a roster spot in any league that I'm aware of! (And tongue-in-cheek I might quip that this might keep some business from going under!) (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
#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.First, the joking: LOOK! The Stimulus is working! All that overtime! (And in all seriousness? This WOULD have that effect. And that's not necessarily a bad thing!)
Second, all kidding aside? Why do these people have a problem with their customer's being able to make an informed decision?! I mean... back in the disease-infested milk example, they though people could make informed decision on their own. So fine: I can choose to eat crap out of a vending machine. Or... maybe I won't... If I know how many empty calories are in that shit! This isn't about the overtime, or the regulations. This is about business doing less volume if people start making MORE INFORMED CHOICES. That is why this is a problem for the Right.
Sorry folks, between the overtime and cost avoidance by getting the obesity problem under control, I'm filing this under the "DAMNED GOOD IDEA" category.
And thirdly: Every single year? I seriously doubt that. The calorie count of the Snickers Bar has been a universal constant since 1947. (Yeah, I just made that up.) I don't think they'll ever offer that much variety.
He goes on to say that "no matter what changes are made a lot of companies will still not want to set up shop in the United States until something is done about all of these ridiculous regulations." Umm... My company does business in Europe, Japan, the Gulf Coast Countries (GCC) and China. And I can assure you that ALL of them have just as many regulations as we do and then some. (Socialist Europe? Communist China?) India's 10 times as bad as we! The only places with LESS regulations? Africa and South & Central America. IOW: 3rd world shit-holes where the people largely get screwed over by the utter LACK of regulations! And yeah, I'm generalizing, and there are lots of very nice places in those regions as well. But the overall standard of living is MUCH LOWER than it is in the U.S., Europe, Japan and even China and India. And - as I work in the field of automotive safety - I can tell you, as a matter of absolute, verifiable fact - that the cars sold in those markets are a LOT LESS safe that they are in the U.S. or Canada. They sell shit in Mexico that would fail FMVSS regulations big time. I know of cars there that are guaranteed to severely injure or kill you in the case of a crash.That's something else these John Stossel types will never tell you!
OK... so what's the deal with all the (*)'s?
Well... Licensing and fees and professional requirements and regulations are something that B-Schools call, "Barriers to entry." (MBA, University of Michigan, 2006, with Honors - if you're wondering.)
Now... are these Liberal? Well... the Right wants to tell you they are because most of them are revenue streams for Cities and States. Plus, supposedly, no Liberal ever saw a piece of Red Tape (or a tax) that they didn't like. And I suppose... from a certain point of view... in some instances, there might be some validity to that. (You know, in the binary world of the Right Wing Conservative.)
But ask yourself this: Why does a Liberal care about how many interior decorators there are in Texas? Why does a Liberal care about how many tour guides operate in Washington D.C.? Why does a Liberal care about how many sources there are for hand-made caskets?
Really? WE DON'T.
Liberals don't have a shit to give about where the Pumpkins and Christmas Trees in Lake Elmo, Minnesota come from.
These are nothing more than BARRIERS TO ENTRY. These are things that BIG BUSINESS sets up to deter potential new competitors from entering the market! $300 (or whatever the licensing fee is) is nothing to an established firm. But if it prevents a new firm from starting up? THAT could be worth big money in terms of decreased completion. (Less advertising needed, higher prices can be charged, etc...)
But... But... Isn't that PROTECTIONISM? And isn't protectionism a LIBERAL thing?
Yes, I suppose it could be called protectionism. But if you call it that, then you've already disproven that protectionism is something that's engaged in only by Liberals! And keeping smaller competitors out of a given market is night-and-day next to to trying to keep jobs from going to China. NAFTA? Not Liberal. (Global) Free Trade? Not Liberal! These are anti-protectionism measures that screw over American Workers and they were written by Republicans, backed by Big Business! Clinton may have signed them into law, but who ever accused Bill Clinton of being a Liberal?! (Other than the same idiots who call Obama one?!)
And remember the Right's own narrative: Liberals hate Big Corporations, right? We hate Big Business!
Then... Why is it our fault when Big Business pushes for licensing fees and regulations that keep smaller competitors out of the market?
Answer? IT ISN'T!
And if these fools would get their heads out of their asses for just two seconds and turn of Fox news, they might realize that there are plenty of Liberals who would be more than happy to GET RID of a lot of these regulations! (Save for those that protect consumers, but that still leaves a TON of common ground!) See.. By blaming LIBERALS, more and more Conservatives get elected. And (remember our narrative) those are the pro-Big Business types. And contrary to what this Right-Wing blogger is telling you, these "absurd regulations" are mostly things that deter competition for Big Business.
Now is that bullshit? Yes, it certainly IS.
But is it LIBERAL? Um... NO FUCKING WAY!!!
We want to STOP big business's influence on the Government!
No one wants to disentangle Corporatism and Corporate Interests from Government more than LIBERALS do! And you don't hear the big companies complaining about these things! It's always the LITTLE GUY! Well, you know how we always say that 98% of America is voting against their economic interests? Well, this is a perfect example of that! Big Business backs Republicans. Republicans talk a good game, but do NOTHING to eliminate the regulations, and the Little Guy gets screwed because he's so convinced that LIBERALS are behind all this! SINCE WHEN DID LIBERALS START RULING THE WORLD?! (Especially the parts of it called "LOUISIANA" and "TEXAS!") Blaming Liberals is just propaganda by those same Big Businesses trying to prevent the very people they're screwing over from ever electing the right people to fix the mess! As long as the little guy keeps thinking the Democrats are against him, he'll keep voting for the Party who's REALLY against him!
Some of the regulations actually make sense, and were merely misrepresented, as I pointed out. But the rest of them are barriers to entry, nothing more. They're things that mostly benefit Big Business. Again: To a huge company the cost is minuscule. But keeping out smaller, nimbler, cheaper competitors? THAT'S key to their very survival! Yet they try to blame these anti-competitions measures on the OPPOSITION of the very Party that Big Business generally backs! And to the extent that Democrats do this too? Shoot... That's just Democrats acting like Republicans! And we hate them just as much!
And don't let some Right Wing Liar (or Fool) try to tell you otherwise!