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I need to vent some frustration here, to lament the state of my neck of the woods because it’s aggravating and it all makes people’s lives so much harder.

So a livelihood is simply, “a means of securing the necessities of life.” We want to enable people to have the means to provide for themselves because it’s good for individuals and the community at large. People who have jobs and own small businesses are invested in their communities. They care about things, like the well-being of their customers, like safe roads, like property values, like their future labor force.

Why this state insists on constantly trying to tear people down and make life impossible is a great mystery. Not long ago some brilliant soul decided, you know what we need? To regulate taxi cab drivers right out of existence. Before that it was waitresses, servers, with our never-ending tip taxes, server permits, and minimum wage mandates.

Our Gov never seems to really grasp this, but when you mandate minimum wage increases, it tends to just put people in a higher tax bracket. On top of individuals now actually taking home less money, small business must compensate for the added cost. The only way to do that is to cut people’s hours and to raise prices.

I actually made a lot more money back in the day when I got 3.38 an hour. True story! Not only that, the money I earned had more value, it bought more stuff. I’ve been on a steady decline, a downward spiral, ever since. Don’t even get me started about now being unable to afford health insurance. We used to……but we got priced right out of the market. Now we actually have to deal with healthcare fines. We get fined for being too poor to comply with all the mandates.

The latest target in my state has been  hairdressers. Somebody got a wild hair in their bonnet and decided the biggest problem in our area is that hairdressers can rent a booth in a salon and run a small business for themselves. Not sure why this horrified so many people in Gov, but all these women just trying to make some kind of living for themselves have been protesting and trying to appeal to lawmakers.

(Yes, some hairdressers are men, but the vast majority are female, and barbers were actually left out of the bill. I couldn’t figure out why until I realized it’s the tips the Gov really wants.)

Taxi cab drivers, servers, and hairdressers are not exactly “the rich.” Those are actually  working class jobs and if you’re really good at it, you can almost make a living wage. You can almost be self-employed too, there’s a certain amount of freedom that goes with those jobs. Almost. The investment required to start a small business of one is much smaller, making it a possibility for people without much money. You can rent a cubby in a salon, draw customers, and make a living, without having to come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in start-up costs.

Worse than all the regulations and attempts to restrict, revoke, and block people’s ability to make a living, is the heart issue, the attitude. You are simply criminalized. Everything you do is perceived as potentially bad. There are endless government audits hoping to catch you in some kind of tax fraud or regulation violation. Those branches of Gov are many too, city, county, state, feds. We ran a small business for years and I am really good at documenting everything, at jumping through hoops, but eventually it really began to wear on me. We always came through everything just fine, but the very act  of forever being read your rights, threatened with legal action, having to sign everything under penalty of perjury, just wears on you. You have been criminalized. Also, a great deal of time must now be invested in trying to prove in triplicate, that you are innocent of any wrong doing.

Don’t even get me started about those helpful busybodies in the community who suddenly decide your home office in the corner of your dining room, needs handicap accessible restrooms with a separate septic system.

It’s really no surprise to me why drugs and addiction have become such a problem here. There’s a lot of evil swirling the drain of that one, but a huge part of it is that we have criminalized people’s ability to make a living, we have run out small businesses, and we have thrown up way too many stumbling blocks for people trying to build and innovate.

I can’t fix it all, or any of it really, but I do wish those in leadership, those in politics would have a sudden epiphany, slap themselves, and go, wut in the world have we done? What have we wrought? Why? Then they suddenly see the error of their ways, make an about face, and start perceiving the working class as the  heart and soul of this nation, as allies, rather than “the rich” who must be relentlessly criminalized, punished, and fleeced.

It’s a good fantasy anyway. When I’m not sitting on a tropical beach with pink palm trees having a margarita, I’m dreaming of our political leadership suddenly getting woke in a whole different way.

 

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