Recently at Why is the "Live Free or Die" state banning fish pedicures?


The always-expanding Nanny State does more than treat adults like children, it can also smother job creation—even in the "live free or die" state of New Hampshire. So as the national debate "pivots" from health care to jobs, suggests that politicians looking to "do something" about the stubbornly high unemployment rate first undo the regulations that ensnare entrepreneurs like Kim Ong.

Ong's parents brought her family from Vietnam to the United States in 1985. "They said this is a country of freedom, a country of opportunities," recalls Ong, who took their words to heart and now owns Kim's Spa & Nails in Derry, New Hampshire. When the recession hit she began looking for new ways to generate business. Her thoughts turned to a luxurious practice that's popular in parts of Asia—fish pedicures.

Ong spent over $6,000 to purchase fish and equipment, a big investment for the small business owner. However, her gamble paid off when she saw how much customers loved having their feet exfoliated by tiny fish. Soon Ong had a waiting list for this hip new service. But instead of hiring more employees, Ong hired a lawyer to plead her case to state regulators who questioned the safety and hygeine of fish pedicures. Unfortunately for Ong and her customers, New Hampshire's Board of Barbering, Cosmetology, and Esthetics banned the practice.

That's right, the state that lets adults motorcycle without a helmet or drive without a seat belt won't tolerate tiny fish nibbling at the dead skin on your feet. This is just one small example of a larger problem. Most people have no idea how many local, state, and federal regulations entrepreneurs struggle against, notes Adrian Moore, an economist with Reason Foundation. "Every day new businesses try to start but find out they're not allowed to because of some regulation or it's too expensive because of some regulation," Moore says. 

And if the Nanny State is spreading into New Hampshire, the one place we thought was immune to it, we may all be in bigger trouble than we thought.

"New Hampshire Nannies" is written and produced by Ted Balaker, who also hosts. Producer: Hawk Jensen; Associate Producer: Paul Detrick, Additional Camera: Meredith Bragg. Special thanks to Yvonne Hair & Nails in Alexandria, Virginia.

Approximately 5.30 minutes long. Scroll down for iPod, HD, and audio versions of this video.