That Mind-Reader Couldn't Be a Fraud—She's Got a License!


As of last Friday, professional psychics in San Francisco will have to shell out $357 for a city license.

You want to know what's even sillier than that? To judge from this report, the only significant objection anyone raised was that the law might lead to ethnic profiling.

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  1. $375 for a license to be a psychic?

    Bet they didn’t see that coming…

  2. “the bill … evolved in a fair, culturally sensitive, Bay Area type of way.”

    I guess that’s more important than the legislation making any kind of sense at all.

  3. A license to commit fraud. Fucking eh, what next?

  4. Yet another attempt by the a Government agency to protect stupid people from themselves.

    Which will only force psychics to raise prices to offset the cost of the license, thus costing stupid people even more.

  5. That’s the problem with licensing arrangements – they give the holder tacit credibility, because people assume they must meet some minimum qualifications. If they knew how minimal in most cases the licenses are (i.e. knowing how to pay your taxes properly in many cases) they’d realize it’s just another revenue grab by the state. In the cases where there is some training, experience or other qualifications required, ususally it’s slanted in favor of the existing professionals as a way to help raise the barrier to competition.

  6. That does it! I’ll stop developing my psychic powers, and instead work on my messianic complex. Surely there can’t be a license required to head up a cult?

  7. Wonder when they’ll start licensing evangelists.

  8. I personally think hookers and drug dealers should be required to carry a license.

  9. Brad, who is going to test the hookers to see if they are compitent enough to get a license?

  10. bomb bomb – I’ll take on that task, but only after two things happen first:

    1. The hooker tests negative for STDs, and

    2. I first get to test a couple of drug dealers to see if they are competent enough to get a license for their chosen profession

  11. It’s shocking SF didn’t go ahead and grant tax exempt status to psychics in the same manner as the “proper” mytics.

  12. Brad, you would have the best job ever.

  13. Judging by the hookers that I see down at the jail I work at, I would want no part of that job. Maybe there are some attractive hookers in your neck of the woods, but around here they run about 200+ lbs.

  14. So when the guy from “Crossing Over” comes to SF for a guest appearance, does he have to ante up?

  15. Taxes should only be for people stupid enough to pay them. The psychics will recoup their license fees from people stupid enough to pay for a psychic. Therefore, the psychic license fee will only hurt stupid people! 😉

    Much like Larry Flynt’s proposal to balance the California budget by expanding gambling and then taxing the he!! out of it: Only a person who flunked math class would gamble, therefore Flynt will balance the budget on the backs of stupid people.

    Sounds good to me 😉

    (Please, don’t start saying I favor big government and taxation. I’m just making some light-hearted comments here.)

  16. Luca Brasi,

    The regulated hookers in the Netherlands are pretty hot.

  17. Luca, what are you feeding them whores in your neck of the woods. A little crack will help them stay slim and sexy!

    Jean, good point. How about anyone making bullshit predictions within the city limits without a license should face stiff penalties.

  18. Well, I am in the mid-west… The hookers need to stick to a strict regiment of meth so that their teeth fall out, I feel that this would make them much better whores. (Not that there is anything wrong with being a whore)

  19. But please, just steer clear of the unlicensed toothless whores – they may be cheaper but they aren’t inspected by helpful bureaucrats.

  20. Fetchet: that was damn funny, by the way.

  21. Only a person who flunked math class would gamble.

    That’s a stupid sentiment. It’s like saying only someone who flunked math would compete in the Olympics (since only a tiny fraction of those who enter actually win).

    The truth, of course, is that only a person who flunked math class will expect, in the long run, to make money from gambling, at least where pure games of chance (slot machines, roulette, etc) are concerned.

    But of course, most people don’t gamble to win money. They gamble because it’s fun, and it’s fun because it’s POSSIBLE to win money. I can plunk five bucks into a progressive slot machine and there’s a chance — a very tiny chance, to be sure — that ten seconds later I’ll be a multimillionaire. There is nothing else I can do with $5 that has any chance of instantly making me rich. That’s a thrilling sensation, albeit one I don’t indulge in too often.

    If you view every expenditure of money purely in terms of its investment value, the obvious conclusion is that gambling, movies, novels, and music only appeal to incredibly stupid people. None of them give you anything of tangible value. Of course, if you realize that many people do things for FUN, it all makes sense.

  22. Dan, obviously you don’t recognize the old joke that gambling is a tax on people bad at statistics.

    Lighten up.

  23. I thought the lottery was suppose to be a tax on stupid people?

    I prefer to think of the income tax as a tax on people too stupid to hide their income…which is most of us, actually.

    …eh, no sense trying to save these jokes.

  24. Dan, obviously you don’t recognize the old joke that gambling is a tax on people bad at statistics.

    I’m familiar with the old “joke”. Since it’s neither funny nor true, I felt like correcting it. Deal with the pain this causes you, because I don’t care. 🙂

  25. On the topic itself:

    Another problem with such crap is that it reduces the actual usefulness of government licensing or regulating of even things which might make some sense whatsoever. In short, there is no way to know whether or not a license is just a stealth tax (Britain apparently has some masters at this technique), or if it has any actual merit to it.

    The US patent system is coming under similar abuse, where patents are being used as a “Real Reason to Believe” – as if there was something special about having a “patented process”. Of course if you know about how the US patent system works, this is absolute hogwash – you can patent damn near anything, no matter how absurd. But as people don’t know that, such arguments tend to work, and for those who do they tend to use it in such a way that it would be interpretted as just “matter of fact, you can’t get this elsewhere” kind of hting – rather than trying to create a false perception of efficacy.

    It would seem to me that no business will ever be much better than it’s customers – including the government.

  26. How did “licensing” originate?

    Did it start in the U.S.?

    Was there any “licensing” before, during, or shortly after the American Revolution?

    Whose idea was it?

  27. What about the elected officials who make bogus predictions about how rosy everything will soon be? And also the ones who run against them saying how the sky is falling? And what about all the local talking heads and newspaper pundits while were at it. Investment advisers, meteorologists, school counselors? Shit, they could slap a fine on anyone who talks about tomorrow in the course of their job.

  28. Cindy: I do recall that during I believe the time of World War II there was an influx of experienced doctors from Germany and such into the United States. The medical profession, including some others, just so happened to at that time erect “Good Citizenship” requirements and such – sounds downright patriotic, of course, but their real purpose was to keep the immigrants from dropping the price of medical service due to all the excess supply.

    I believe there were also similar waves of new licensing and such required in many other areas as well, but I cannot recall where exactly it all got started. I do know it’s all over the place, now in pretty much every government on earth.

    It is my belief, through pure reasoning and gut feeling, that it all originated in the middle ages with the feudal system with titles and such. I would like to know where it all got started, as that’s just a total guess.

  29. Plutarck:

    I believe the AMA was formed around the turn of the twentieth century as a way of excluding osteopaths, chiropractors, homeopaths and naturopaths from the market. They lobbied state governments to outlaw or restrict the practices of their competitors. They also brought the medical schools under their control and excluded even students of rival medical approaches who wanted to learn a more integrative approach.

    I’m not by any means uncritically accepting of the claims of the non-allopathic approaches. But I don’t think such competing claims should be settled at gunpoint, which state-imposed licensing amounts to.

  30. Licensing existed at least as far back as the middle ages. No tradesman was allowed to ply his trade until trained and certified by the guild, and apprentices, journeymen and masters were all limited as to the types of work within their trade that they could perform. This isn’t exactly licensing, but it’s pretty close; it resembles what union halls and state licensing boards do today, and the guilds were generally state sanctioned and recognized organizations. (As are some trade associations today, such as state bar associations, some medical associations).

    Moreover, strict laws often dictated one’s choice of career. In some fuedal monarchies, the sons of bakers were to become bakers; the offspring of butchers, butchers, etc.

    Licensing as we would recognize it seems to have started in Tudor England. The English king would grant a charter allowing a favored person – often royalty, nobility or some minister or another – to operate a particular type of business. The well born often screwed up the business, and the commercial class (many of them puritans) often wound up running things…

    There may well have been licensing prior to the middle ages in Western Europe, but I’m not aware of it…

  31. Oh, yeah, one more thing. My sister used to manage a chiropractor’s office. He would often tell a patient to see an MD for something that could be better treated by mainstream medicine, but made very few referrals to specific doctors because so many MD’s refused to take referrals from a chiropractor.

  32. al?lop?a?thy n. A method of treating disease with remedies that produce effects different from those caused by the disease itself. [German Allopathie : Greek allos, other; see ALLO- + Greek patheia, suffering; see -PATHY.] –al?lo?path?ic (?l??-p?th??k) adj. –al?lo?path?i?cal?ly adv.

  33. Thank you Mr. Carson, and you too, Mr. Plutarch, for that explanation. I’ll be entering college next year and the subject might come up in one of my courses on government. You never know. Maybe the internet can help me with some additional research.

  34. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 11:44:46
    The best solution against abortions is education, not snipers.

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