Living by permission 1

Trying to make a living? You’ll need a permit.

You’ll need a pile of permits.

Socialist governments, aspiring to  control everybody’s life from cradle to grave, start by regulating everything you do. Regulation starts with licensing.

Mark Steyn tells this story and comments on it:

With its uncanny ability to prioritize, California, land of Golden Statism for unionized bureaucrats, is cracking down on complimentary coffee. From The Ventura County Star:

Ty Brann likes the neighborly feel of his local hardware store. The fourth-generation Ventura County resident and small business owner has been going to the B & B Do It Center on Mobile Avenue in Camarillo for many years. … So when he learned the county had told B & B it could no longer put out its usual box of doughnuts and coffee pot for the morning customers, Brann was taken aback.

Dunno why. He lives in California. He surely knows by now everything you enjoy is either illegal or regulated up the wazoo. The Collins family had been putting a coffee pot on the counter for 15 years, as the previous owners of the store had done, too, and yea, back through all the generations. But in California that’s an illegal act. The permit mullahs told Randy Collins that he needed to install stainless steel sinks with hot and cold water and a prep kitchen to handle the doughnuts. “What some establishments do is hire a mobile food preparation services or in some cases a coffee service,” explained Elizabeth Huff, “Manager of Community Services” (yeah, right). “Those establishments have permits and can operate in front of or even inside of the stores.”

Even inside? Gee, that’s big of you. “Those establishments have permits”? In California, what doesn’t? Commissar Huff added that there are a range of permits of varying costs. No doubt a plain instant coffee permit would be relatively simple, but if you wished to offer a decaf caramel macchiato with complimentary biscotti additional licenses may be required.

“We’re certainly working with the health department,” said Mr Collins. “We want to be in compliance with the law.”


When the law says that it’s illegal for a storekeeper to offer his customer a cup of coffee, you should be proud to be in non-compliance. What the hell did you guys bother holding a revolution for? George III didn’t care what complimentary liquid refreshments a village blacksmith shared with his clientele. Say what you like about the Boston Tea Party, but nobody attempted to prosecute them for unlicensed handling of beverage items in a public place.

This is the reality of small business in America today. You don’t make the rules, you don’t vote for people who make the rules. But you have to work harder, pay more taxes, buy more permits, fill in more paperwork, contribute to the growth of an ever less favorable business environment and prostrate yourself before the Commissar of Community Services – all for the privilege of taking home less and less money.

And from the Heritage Foundation comes a video about this economy-depressing form of tyranny: