Remove Government Barriers to Equal Opportunity

Earlier this afternoon I participated in a Google Hangout to discuss the Heritage Foundation’s new report “America’s Opportunity for All.” On the panel I was joined by Ben Howe of Mister Smith Media and Contributing writer for RedState.com, Rich Tucker, Senior Writer for The Heritage Foundation; Emily Zanotti, Principal at Iconoclast Media & Message; Ben Domenech, Fellow at The Heartland Institute and Editor of The Transom (as well as co-founder of RedState).

 

The current political climate requires a rigorous explanation for why expanding government power, jurisdiction, and regulatory authority hampers rather than promotes Americans’ opportunity to succeed. Concrete examples are key; the Institute for Justice offers a number of them:

Street Vendors: Increasing numbers of Atlanta Street Vendors vending on public property (i.e. sports fields and arenas) have had their permits revoked and asked to leave as Atlanta handed over all public property vending to one company, General Growth Properties. As the government-sanctioned monopolist expanded in the city, Atlanta officials have revoked permits of existing private vendors and forced them to leave.

Hair Braiding Businesses: It wasn’t until August 2012 that the federal court struck down a Utah law requiring hairbraiders to obtain cosmetology training and licensing, in Clayton v. Steinagel brought by the Institute for Justice. The law required thousands of dollars and 2000 hours—one full year—of government mandated cosmetology school. It’s worth pointing out that hairbraiders do not use chemicals, shampoo, cut or color hair, or do facials, shaves, esthetics or nails.

Florists: Before Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the law removing the “demonstration exam” for florists, Louisiana was the only state in the nation to require aspiring florists to pass both a written test and a demonstration exam. As you might expect, the demonstration exam was highly subjective but then judged by existing state-licensed florists, so their future competitors.

Food Trucks: Chicago food trucks must stay 200 feet away from restaurants or else pay a $2,000 fine. Small business owner Greg Burke explains “It’s hindering us from making a profit. We can’t go where people want us to go.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has also taken up the cause of Americans seeking to earn a living. These cases include property owners who later learned the EPA deemed their property a wetland and thereby under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act halting the development of their property. Or a family farm operating in the Chesapeake area of Virginia for more than two decades who recently were told their land is also considered “wetlands” despite no hydrological connection to navigable water.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    It's weird to me that Rand is the only Red interested in small business licensing reform. This seems like it could be a winning issue with Reds at the state and municipal level.

  • Virginian||

    Well yeah, but then it would have to be done at the state and municipal level. Rand can talk about it, but forcing every state to adopt his preferred laissez faire attitude to regulation would violate his principles of federalism, right?

  • Hugh Akston||

    But that's what I'm saying. State- and local-level Reds seem to largely ignore this issue when taking it up could win them a built in constituency of small business owners.

  • Brandon||

    Small business owners are a smaller constituency than SoCons.

  • entropy||

    But like someone mentions in the video, not only small business owners are interested in economic freedoms.

    I tend to think Reds will never do it because they're too in bed and beholden to the rent seekers who fund their campaigns. There is a reason that all over the country, not only are they NOT reforming the license requirements they are expanding them to more and more stuff.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    State- and local-level Reds seem to largely ignore this issue when taking it up could win them a built in constituency of small business owners.

    Small businesses are as likely to support as oppose licensing schemes because those schemes protect incumbents at the expense of consumers and new entrants.

    Pro-business =/= Pro free market.

  • ||

    Not if you think that freedom of association and contract is a constitutional right.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Freedom of association does not imply a right to run a business in a place you don't own or rent. No one is stopping these people from associating or contracting, they just have to do it somewhere other than right in front of a restaurant.

  • JW||

    When I put money in a meter, I am renting that space for the allotted time. There is no restriction on what I can do with that time.

    Or, you know, the restaurant could get their own truck and compete. But would be disorderly and untidy. We can't have things being untidy now, can we?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    When I put money in a meter, I am renting that space for the allotted time.

    No, you're paying for the costs of enforcing parking laws. You don't obtain any tenancy rights by feeding the meter.

    If you feed the meter and proceed to set up a card table and folding chairs in the parking spot and play rummy with three of your closest friends, the first cop who shows up is going to tell you to GTFO, whether you fed the meter or not. It's not the flerking YMCA, it's a public street.

  • JW||

    You don't seem to understand how parking meters work. I put money in the meter. I am renting that space for however long I pay for it. The state has no interest in how I spend that time.

    I and 5 friends could park in 6 contiguous spaces, pay and put up chairs next to our cars and read the paper and play canasta if we wanted, as long as we didn't overstay our time. I have *never* seen any sort of restriction posted on parking about anything other than how long I can stay. Have you?

    Municipalities and neighborhoods block off street parking for all the time for privately-run festivals and street fairs. Sometimes in front of restaurants! [GASP!] That sure sounds like commercial activity to me.

    As usual, you're just pulling things out of your tightly puckered asshole to satisfy your little mental jihad against disorder.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You don't seem to understand how parking meters work.

    Go read some court decisions on the matter before you embarrass yourself further.

    People have tried to get out of parking tickets because of laws prohibiting the city from renting out public spaces, and lost because feeding the meter is not considered a rental.

  • JW||

    Go read some court decisions on the matter before you embarrass yourself further.

    And have to hang out with you? Sorry, you're stuck in the "table for one" land on your own.

    Enlighten us. Would these be any different than the judges who claim that painting a message on your privately owned house is not a form of free expression?

    Of course, they sound like kindred spirits of yours.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I have *never* seen any sort of restriction posted on parking about anything other than how long I can stay.

    It doesn't have to be posted, it's part of the law. There's no sign saying you can't park 10 feet away from the curb, either.

    Municipalities and neighborhoods block off street parking for all the time for privately-run festivals and street fairs. Sometimes in front of restaurants! [GASP!] That sure sounds like commercial activity to me.

    Which they can do because they manage the street! Gosh you are dense.

  • JW||

    It doesn't have to be posted, it's part of the law. There's no sign saying you can't park 10 feet away from the curb, either.

    Please show me the one where it bans the use of a space for commercial activity. Because, I'm sure that the merchants whose stores I frequent while using the metered space would be aghast that their patrons could no longer shop while parked.

    Which they can do because they manage the street! Gosh you are dense.

    Don't duck when you hear the whoosh. This clearly establishes a precedent for private, commercial use of a public street.

  • np||

    Except there are street vendors who are still prohibited when the property owners explicitly allow them to vend on their property, such as parking lots, because of rent seeking laws.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Well I oppose those laws. Property owners should be free to allow food trucks on their property.

    I'm not defending every food truck law, just the ones in front of me.

  • JeremyR||

    That's really the puzzling thing about Republican politicians. They seem to equate capitalism/free markets with big business, even though big business mostly supports the Democrats (in terms of cash).

    Not to mention philosophically, too. Big business likes government, because they use it to drive out competition (though regulations like this), tax breaks, subsidies, etc.

    On a certain level, most Republicans grasp this. But that doesn't keep them from slobbering over big business every chance they get.

    I guess the the few crumbs they get from big business is better than anything small businesses can give.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Most small businesses don't have to deal with specific licensing regimes (beyond business licenses themselves). The few that are impacted don't have the money to make campaign contributions or the influence to help GOTV.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Most small businesses don't have to deal with specific licensing regimes (beyond business licenses themselves).

    Could you clarify this remark?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't see how it needs clarification.... every biz needs a biz license. Most types of bizzes don't need any more licensing after that.

  • waaminn||

    Sometimes dude you just gotta roll with those punches!

    www.Go4Anon.tk

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yawn, the food trucks again?

    “It’s hindering us from making a profit. We can’t go where people want us to go.”

    Then find a private property owner who will let you use their property for your business endeavors. The taxpayers have no obligation to provide you with a rent-free business location in the middle of a primo real estate area.

  • Hyperion||

    What's wrong with letting them do it on public property?

    Every Latin American country I have ever been to, there are street markets every weekend, and street vendors on sidewalks during the week, everywhere. No one fucks with them, and I don't see any harm done.

    Do restaurants own the sidewalks and street, parks, beaches? Fuck that shit, this cronyism is the greatest evil on earth.

  • Brandon||

    It's Tulpa.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, you know, God forbid that some poor guy who only wants to work for a living and pay his own way, is allowed to do so.

    Unlike the millions of worthless parasites we have in America today who wouldn't work to save their own ass, or their family.

    And all because they only have a lowly food cart or some trinkets to sell, and can't pay off the local corruptocrats.

    Better for tax payers to support the poor, it's better that way. And it's working out so well, we're only 16 trillion in debt, those printing presses have plenty of life left in them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Dude, I'm one of the most invertebrate opponents of welfare here so cut the crap. I'll accept that this guy is paying his own way when he pays rent or some other contractual agreement to the owner of the property where he plies his trade. Not abusing the street parking that's intended for other purposes.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    "Invertebrate opponent" is pretty good.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Inveterate, I meant.

    Though I do have to have a thick exoskeleton around here.

  • ||

    Street parking is intended for vehicles to park at. Why can't the parked vehicle then sell food? And last I checked, people with food trucks pay taxes to use public roads too. The distinction you're trying to make is arbitrary, stupid, and completely expected coming from you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Street parking is intended for vehicles to park at. Why can't the parked vehicle then sell food?

    Why doesn't your landlord allow you to have a hotplate in your room?

    I dunno. It's their property, it's their decision.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wrong, it's "public" property. Meaning partially owned by the food truck guy.

  • JW||

    If the restaurant is so exorcised over someone daring to compete with him, He can buy/lease the spaces in front of his business. I frequently see restaurants do that with valet parking.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That's not how it works.

    I-376 is public property, but I can't claim the right to set up a basketball court across it because I'm "part owner". Public property is managed by the govt. It would be a tragedy of the commons otherwise.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    yeah, hooray for Latin America's weak property rights regime. Maybe that's why people are peeing in their water supply there.

    No, the people do, and the govt administers them. Personally I prefer a regime of requiring a fixed fee for the use of the on-street parking as a business location. It's not fair for private restaurants to have to compete with taxpayer subsidized interlopers.

  • Hyperion||

    Tulpa, how many Latin American countries have you spent time in? Do you think everyone is South America where they have street markets, is poor, and pees in their water? If so, then that goes a long way to explaining your views.

  • ||

    Remember: Tulpy-Poo's specialty is talking about shit he completely knows nothing about as if he was significantly knowledgeable about them. He makes lots of unfounded assumptions, and as we all know, when you make an unfounded assumption, you make an ass out of you and...umption.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, the assumption that Latin Americans(it's a big area comprising lots of countries, as most of us well know), pee in their water and are completely ignorant about property rights, is pretty damn ignorant.

    Maybe I was right when I once said that he thinks it is perfectly ok to drone kill dirty brown furener babies.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Now that's a troll.

    I really don't see how thinking people are poor leads to thinking it's OK to kill them.

  • JW||

    Let me get this straight, Tulpy-poo, no one should ever conduct a commercial activity from a parking space, right?

  • ||

    Yes, because making money is evil. Public spaces should only be used for clean, non-money related activities like art. That means no transporting food and products, no UPS, no newspaper delivery. The taxpayers obviously don't want to pay for any of that shit. Get a helipad and have everything delivered to you privately, by helicopter, like everyone else, you moochers. All businesses should have the same model and the share the same costs. Shall I go or has your head exploded yet?

    /This is what Tulpy-poo actually believes

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    no one should ever conduct a commercial activity from a parking space, right?

    That's not what I said.

    I'm saying the property owner and/or manager decides what the property may be used for. In this case the owner is the people and the manager is the govt.

    Generally it seems wisest to me to make the food trucks pay a fee to the govt to (partially) level the playing field, if they want to park right in front of B&M restaurants.

  • JW||

    That's not what I said.

    Yeah, that's what you have been saying over and over.

    Never mind that commercial activity is pretty much the *only* reason that people park in parking spaces, you just have several metric tons of sand in your vagina over the temerity of someone daring to compete with a business on their own terms.

    WAAAHHHH! IT'S NOT FAIR!

    I'm saying the property owner and/or manager decides what the property may be used for. In this case the owner is the people and the manager is the govt.

    Huh. I didn't realize that we took a vote on it. I guess you were the only one that showed up at the poll that day.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||


    Country/GNP per capita

    Argentina $15,150
    Chile $13,890
    Uruguay $13,890
    Venezuela $11,950
    Brazil $10,920
    Ecuador $9,270
    Colombia $9,000
    Peru $8,940
    Suriname $7,610
    Paraguay $5,430
    Bolivia $4,560
    Guyana $3,530

    Source: World Bank, 1 July 2011

    Wonderful property rights respect under Chavez and Friends in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc.

    Right backatcha: have you done an objective analysis of the effect on LA economic development of ubiquitous street vendors plying their trade in the commons? Or did you just see street vendors and think "wow that's cool!" and investigate no further.

  • Hyperion||

    Brazils economy is a lot better than here now, actual economic growth.

    Do you really think that everyone there is poor? You are a fucking joke.

    Have you ever been to any of the countries that you are referring to?

    Nope, you've only been to Murika, and you think we are better than everyone else, don't you?

    Pull you head out of your ass and go see the world, amigo.

    I am a troll? You make my laugh, dipshit.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Economic growth isn't as big a feat when you're at the bottom of the barrel. I wish Brazil good luck, but seriously? Saying their economy is better than ours is stretching credulity.

    I've been to many foreign countries, thanks for asking before you assumed. I don't purport to have lived among foreigners and marinated in the subtleties of their culture, sorry if that was a requirement for discussing food truck policy in the US.

    And you're a troll because you made a totally unrelated accusation about the drones that you knew would get my blood boiling.

  • Hyperion||

    Or did you just see street vendors and think "wow that's cool!" and investigate no further.

    I've spent substantial time in the neighborhoods that I am referring to, and I have discussed this many times with a lot of people who know more about the situation than what you know, which is nothing.

  • iggy||

    Jesus, Tulpa. I know 'correlation doesn't imply causation' is said so often around here that it's basically a cliche, but I hardly think the low per capita GDP of South American nations is related to their food trucks.

    Clearly if we eliminated the nefarious Brazilian food trucks, their economy would take off!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The per capita GDP chart was in response to the claim that South America isn't poor.

    Thanks for disputing an implication that no one made. My point was that the general disrespect for private property/expansive commandeering of the commons may be part of the tapestry of Latin America's woes.

  • iggy||

    Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Venezuela are all quite a bit above the average worldwide GDP, so using them as proof of South American poverty doesn't exactly prove your point.

    More importantly, the low GDPs of South America are related to too much government control over private enterprise. They simply aren't free market enough. The disrespect for property that hurts South America is unrelated to the food trucks. The disrespect for property in South America is a GOVERNMENTAL lack of respect, not an individual lack of respect in any way related to food trucks. You're basically saying 'South America is relatively poor, food trucks are in South America, food trucks are therefore evidence of a lack of respect for property!' So yes, you are arguing that the correlation is at least partially causally related, regardless of your claims otherwise.

    Also 'commandeering the commons?' Isn't that another phrase for 'using public property?'

  • Hyperion||

    Brazil and Chili, IMHO, are both great places for entrepreneurs to look for opportunities.

    Brazil, just because of its enormous natural resources, and Chili because of it's trending economic liberty.

    I love Brazil, myself. I may be a little biased since my wife is Brazilian, but I was very surprised the first time I went there at the growing economy and prosperity.

    We own property there and go often, and my wife is a lawyer there, so I think I know more than Tulpa does, although since he is Murikan and therefore superior to everyone else in the world, you know, people who don't pee in their drinking water, I can't convince him of that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    While H's allegedly* living in South America gives him a unique insight into the economic effects of food trucks. Despite the fact he wasn't talking about food trucks, and he's talking about a totally different country in a different stage of development, and it's extremely unclear the amount of research he's actually put into the question, we must all bow to his authority on the matter.

    * you do realize that, this being the Internet, as far as any of us know you're totally making this shit up, right?

  • Hyperion||

    I wish Brazil good luck, but seriously? Saying their economy is better than ours is stretching credulity.

    The problem is, that you are speaking from ignorance, and I from first hand knowledge.

    The USA is on a downhill slide, and Brazil is one of the countries that actually has a growing economy. Do I ever wish I could change this, but I can't, because the statist tyrants that you love are in power, and they are going to destroy this country if we don't stop them.

    If you knew the business owners that I know in Brazil and could see the prosperity and opportunity that I have witnessed first hand, you would shut your mouth very quickly.

    You're a narrow minded individual, Tulpa, living in your little box like most neocons. I hope that you find your way out of that, and open your eyes, but I can't help you.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The USA is on a downhill slide, and Brazil is one of the countries that actually has a growing economy.

    I guess all those Brazilians currently/recently going through the labyrinthine immigration system we have must be a bunch of dolts, then? That includes your wife, and you too since you apparently are comfortable enough with the culture to live there, but for some strange reason have chosen to live here despite it being a worse country.

    Ouch. That's gotta hurt -- far more than your pathetic attempts to get under my skin by calling me a neocon and defaming me, claiming I support droning "brown people".

  • Hyperion||

    If you think any of the uninformed, non-factual tripe that you, spout hurts me, you are more of a lost cause than I already suspected. You are hurting yourself, not me. I actually tried to inform you and stop you from being an ass, but apparently it is not possible.

    I am an American citizen, you ignorant asshole. I was born here. That didn't stop me from visiting other countries, investing there, and opening my eyes to the fact that Murika is not the sole source of everything good on the planet.

  • ||

    Poor is contextual. Those dollars will go a much longer way in those countries.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yeah, because the quality of life is shit.

  • Hyperion||

    Do you think everyone is in South America where they have street markets, is poor

  • Hyperion||

    * you do realize that, this being the Internet, as far as any of us know you're totally making this shit up, right?

    Do you really think I care if you think I am making stuff up? I have better things to do. You can think whatever you want, it doesn't concern me. I tried to engage you in a meaningful debate about free markets and you turned it into an 'Murika, Fuck yeah!, Everyone but us pees in their own drinking water' pissing contest. I am done here.

  • Redmanfms||

    Don't mind Tulpy-poo, arguing from a position of authority on things he clearly knows fuck all about is his MO. That and lamenting aloud about how "gets no respect" (after showing what a massively ignorant fucking ass he is) is about all he's got.

    Occasionally he'll indulge in arguing out of both sides of his mouth, this has been true of his presence in cop threads in the last week in which he bemoaned how the commentariat treats dunphy as being "shameful" and dumpster is a "good cop" and somebody we should celebrate as "being on our side" one day and then, not a day later, call dumpster out for being the jack-booted apologist of the police state that he is in damn near the same manner that the rest of the commentariat does.

  • Drake||

    That video was way too much like every conference call at work. I get paid to pretend to pay attention to those.

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