Matt Yglesias, a deeply logic-challenged person with a grievously warped sense of moral order, is nothing if not a reliable toady of the Obama Administration, or for that matter any other Democrat for whom he shills.
And so it’s truly crocodile tears I cry for him as he relates the difficulties involved in starting a small business in the City That Big Progressive Bureaucracy built, Washington DC:
My wife and I bought a new place, and instead of selling our old condo, we’re going to rent it out. And thus I became a small-business man.
Or, rather, I’m becoming one. Entrepreneurship—even on the smallest and most banal scale—turns out to be a time-consuming pain in the you-know-what. My personal inconveniences aren’t a big deal, but in the aggregate, the difficulty of launching a business is a problem and it may be a more important one as time goes on.
Why yes, Matt. It just may be.
He relates in painstaking detail the rigamarole it takes to set up a “business” whose only product is an overpriced condo:
In the District of Columbia, I need to get a simple Basic Business License to rent out a single dwelling. After puzzling over the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website for a bit, it became clear that step No. 1 was actually to file form FR-500 with the Office of Tax and Revenue, which you can do online. Then it was time to hustle down to the DCRA (which closes at 4:30 p.m.) to file the paperwork. Once there, I learned that filing the FR-500 online wasn’t good enough—I needed a hard copy. Fortunately, the Office and Tax and Revenue was right across the street, so I went there and refiled. Then it was back to the DCRA to stand in line to get a number, wait for the number to be called…
It goes on from there.
Yglesias does make one good observation…:
Not that I expect your pity. I don’t even pity myself. Going through the process, I mostly felt lucky to be a fluent-English-speaking college graduate with a flexible work schedule. But the presence of a stray pamphlet offering translation into Spanish, Chinese, or Amharic seemed like it would be only marginally useful to an immigrant entrepreneur. A person who needs to be at her day job from 9 to 5 would have a huge problem even getting to these offices while they’re open.
Yep. Very, very true.
Yglesias asked for this kid of government – and I don’t mean in the figurative, “you voted for Barack Rex, take your medicine, Ivy-League hamster!” sense of the term. I mean literally; one of his articles was entitled “Regulation Breeds Innovation“.
It does indeed. Black markets and off-the-books sublets are, in fact, a form of innovation.
Side note: He didn’t build that.