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Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Stupid, Stupid, Stupid"

“At this time we have no money and we are not allowed to open to raise the money. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.”
If there was ever a motto or catch phrase for the moral and political ideology strangling the life out of our nation - this would be it.

A couple of weeks ago, this
article discussed how the state of Rhode Island was threatening to shut down more than 1,200 small businesses immediately if they did not pay overdue taxes. Many of the businesses had paid, but due to bureacratic mistakes, were being threatened anyway.

“The economy is [terrible], people are hardly staying in business. I had to shut down my business for a day to come here and do this and they already got my check. So why am I here?” a frustrated Bahl said.

“And then they send someone over to scare me in front of my customers?” she continued. “It’s ridiculous … It’s embarrassing.”

Others, arguing that they would not ever be able to pay the taxes if they were shut down, were told, in effect, too bad.

Desmond Clark, who owns a small video-game store in North Providence, said he spent months trying to negotiate a payment plan with the state that would allow him to keep current on owed taxes, while staying afloat in a tough economy.

“They didn’t want to hear it. They didn’t want any payment plan whatsoever,” said Clark.

The quote at the top of the post is from a follow up article about a Rhode Island pet shop owner who was shut down by the state. His reasoning for not paying the taxes was as follows:

“I used that money to stay in business.”

Of course, only to someone employed by the government would that statement be incomprehensible.

The letters hand-delivered by the hundreds this week reiterated the message that owners are now operating without a permit and that under state law “each officer of any corporation which so engages in business shall be guilty of a misdemeanor” for which they can be fined up to $5,000 and imprisoned for up to a year.

“Each day in which such person so engages in business shall constitute a separate offense,” the letter says.

The state is saying, in effect, if you don't let us steal from you, then we are going to shut you down or imprison you so that we can never steal from you again.

To top it off, consider this story about an 8 year old girl whose lemonade stand was shut down by the city council of Tulare California for not having a business license. Apparently, the city "code enforcement officer" noticed the girl's heinous infraction while busy at work prosecuting other dangerous crimes:

Richard Garcia, a Tulare code enforcement officer, happened to be at the same intersection to remove illegal signs left behind by someone selling tetherball poles.

My advice to the pet shop robber barron, the 8 year old lemonade mogul, and all like them: "Shrug".

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