Op-Ed: “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”
By Stan Smith || Last time I looked, York County was at over 14 percent unemployment. We say jobs are the issue. What politician has not said that we need more jobs in York County? Talk is cheap!
We know that most jobs come from small businesses. The legislature is now out of session and I could find no bills introduced by any Legislator that smoothed the way to start or grow a small business. There were a couple that wanted to start agencies or programs that would be administered by the State, but that doesn’t really get jobs growing – it just grows the state bureaucracy.
Legislators use voodoo logic. It goes like this. “We will set up an agency to help people borrow money to pay the fees that we are charging them to get started. This way, we will have an expanded bureaucracy and a new set of forms and procedures.” If they cut out the fees in the first place, we would have less government and more free enterprise. We spent a fortune incentivizing Boeing. Our current batch of legislators believe we need to capture elephants instead of get out of the way so our own small businesses can grow into larger employers.
Here is just one thing that needs to be done. We should remove the hundreds of stupid and unnecessary initiation fees and arbitrary “requirements” we impose for a single entrepreneur to start or stay in business. These exist for beauticians, landscapers, contractors, social workers, counselors, beauticians – pretty much all the sole proprietor professions that can grow into businesses. The case made to defend these roadblocks to new business is usually that the public must be protected from bad counseling or folks uncertified to use a chemical or who may put acid in your hair and so forth; but that twists the truth. The truth is that these laws are advocated by the folks who already have a foot in the door and want to keep newer and perhaps better or more agile competitors out. So they make the state your nanny and pretend they are protecting you.
If, for example, a counselor wants to prove they are competent, there are many associations that certify counselors already. Do you really think that a state-administered test or a state required course is going to insure your beautician makes your hair look good or uses the right tools and supplies for your type of hair? A simple requirement that any business or profession prominently post all its certifications and licenses so they can be easily read and evaluated is the only real need.
Here is a simple example of stupid requirements we impose to kill off entrepreneurs. If I sell hot-dogs out of a movable vehicle, I have to take the vehicle from where it is making money back to its home base every night whether it needs service or not, whether there are local resources to clean and maintain my equipment or not. That means that my hot dog profits and my time are spent on gas and travel instead of actually growing my business. I grow more slowly; I don’t employ more help; I don’t even have the time to look in that community for a permanent location. I may not even get into the hot dog business because my profit margins are reduced to the point it is not worth doing.
The state does not have the expertise to certify folks in any profession, but we have created little fiefdoms of boards that try to do just that – and the state supports the boards – which create no jobs and generate no revenue – but instead charge fees and administer tests or inspections to limit new innovators and keep out new entrepreneurs.
It is not the role of the state to gate-keep free enterprise! I know there are unscrupulous actors out there. That is what the courts are for. And if there is a public health risk, we can inspect instead of block. You remember the collapse of the last big nanny state – the Soviet Union – all bureaucracy and no innovation! Let’s roll back the stupidities our legislators enacted to please special interests. Let’s let jobs grow. Who knows, we may have a few infant Boeings here in York County. Let’s stop smothering them- they have a right to life.
If it’s jobs we need, get the state out of the way and let them grow.
About the author: Stan Smith is running for S.C. House District 48 in York County as a libertarian candidate. To visit his website, click here.