Being an entrepreneur is scary—there is risk, uncertainty, and obstacles to overcome. Delivering a product or service that customers want is certainly no small feat, but the tragedy is that most entrepreneurs find their biggest foe in the government.
Below are a few nightmare scenarios unwitting entrepreneurs have faced.
When Carolyn Davis’ son lost his construction job, the two bought a truck and went into the moving business. They took out ads in the paper and for six weeks helped folks move. But when they arrived at one job, police came out with raised guns and impounded their vehicle. Their crime: operating without a moving license. The mother-son team was fined $500 for advertising and $500 for doing business without a license—and had to pay $498 to get their truck back. When they asked how to get a license, they were told they needed to fill out an application that could take six to eighteen months to be reviewed. Way to clip the wings of entrepreneurial spirit.
UberX, a company that connects drivers to riders through smartphone applications, can help entrepreneurial car owners make a few bucks. But it has also led to arrests at San Francisco’s government-owned airport. Eleven UberX drivers were arrested this year for having the audacity to provide rides to weary travelers from the airport without the airport’s permission. Fortunately, this story could have a happy ending. California’s regulatory body recently approved rules that may make it possible for companies like UberX to operate like taxi companies, without fear of arrest.
Detroit recently kicked off “Operation Compliance,” an initiative to shut down businesses for what often turn out to be minor infractions. Already, the city has shutdown 383 businesses for inane reasons like paying fees a little late.
For a bankrupt city with a declining population, Operation Compliance is a perplexing move. One business owner responded that “they should be cleaning up some of these vacant lots … go clean up the streets, your taking our tax dollars, clean it up.” The city’s lost focus on its core responsibilities, and is terrorizing entrepreneurs.
Big dreams are turning into nightmares for entrepreneurs once they run into big government. Folks should be free to sell moving services and share rides without licensing or fees, and without the threat of swat teams and police officers.
This post originally appeared on economicfreedom.org