License rules weigh heavier on small business than taxes - Arlington Heights Daily Herald License rules weigh heavier on small business than taxes - Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Sunday, May 27, 2012

License rules weigh heavier on small business than taxes - Arlington Heights Daily Herald

License rules weigh heavier on small business than taxes - Arlington Heights Daily Herald

WASHINGTON To hear politicians tell it, the No. 1 barrier to small-business growth is taxes. Last year, House Speaker John Boehner rebutted Obama administration calls for a surtax on millionaires with the claim that over half of the people who would be taxed under this plan are, in fact, small businesspeople, so youre going to basically increase taxes on the very people that were hoping will reinvest in our economy and create jobs.

The White House has tried to counter this with math, illustrating that relatively little of the revenue it wants to raise derives from small businesses with employees. But this debate leaves small-business operators and their employees few of whom are members of the fabled top 1 percent as pawns in a larger ideological struggle about the scope and generosity of the welfare state.

It turns out that, when surveyed, small-business owners place relatively little weight on tax issues anyway. Theyre much more concerned with something Washington rarely talks about: the countrys spreading thicket of licensing rules.

To be charged a high tax rate on your small-business profits, you need to be turning a tidy profit in the first place. Anyone in that position would surely prefer lower taxes but is fundamentally ahead of the game. The main barrier to entrepreneurship is not that youll pay taxes if you succeed its that you might not make any money at all.

The evidence comes from a recent survey conducted by the Kauffman Foundation in partnership with They polled small-business owners about how friendly various state-policy factors are to small firms. Then, instead of home-brewing an arbitrary weighting system, they simply asked respondents to give an overall assessment. The basic pattern of the results is that more politically conservative states score higher. Texas, for example, gets an A+ on overall business climate, while California rates an F. But Minnesota and Oregon score highly, while Mississippi, North Carolina and Arizona look bad. Swing states are all over the map, with Florida a C and New Hampshire an A.

Perhaps most interestingly, the fact that the overall conditions were rated separately from the individual ones means its possible to objectively calculate correlations between the factors.

Texas is full of high marks, but its not obvious that the discerning voter actually wants to copy the states beloved-by-business environmental regulations. Part of the point of such rules, after all, is that businesses dont always want to do whats best for local public health or air quality. In any case, according to Kauffman, environmental and zoning regulations tended to be the least statistically significant predictors of small business owners view of the states friendliness. So you can sleep safely in the knowledge that more pollution isnt necessary to promote a better business climate.

Licensing requirements, by contrast, are by far the best statistical predictor of business-friendliness, for those subjected to them. And unlike taxes or environmental rules, these have spread like kudzu, with little scrutiny and often scant policy rationale.

A recent comprehensive survey of state licensing practices by the Institute of Justice reveals little consistency or coherent purpose behind most licensing. Arizona, Louisiana, Florida and the District of Columbia, for example, all require aspiring interior designers to undergo 2,190 hours of training and apprenticeship and pass an exam before practicing. In the other 47 states, meanwhile, theres no legal training requirement. My friends and co-workers living in D.C.s Virginia and Maryland suburbs appear to get on fine with unlicensed interior decorators, and all across America, amateurs have decorated their own homes without imperiling public safety.

All states though not the anarchic United Kingdom require barbers to be licensed, but the specific requirements seem to vary arbitrarily. New York barbers need 884 days of education and apprenticeship. Across the river in New Jersey, its 280. But getting ones hair cut in New Jersey (to say nothing of England) is hardly a life-threatening gamble.

In most of the country, what you need to do to work as a locksmith is find someone to pay you to fix locks. But in Oklahoma you have to be 21 years old, New Jersey requires a high-school diploma, and Tennessee makes you take two exams.

These rules correlate strongly with burdensomeness in part for the same reason that they seem so random theyre often imposed specifically to create a burden and stifle competition. Once a licensing regime is in place, existing license holders have an incentive to lobby to raise the bar for entry.

Over time, licensing has become much more common. Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota and Alan Krueger of Princeton (and current chair of the Obama Council of Economic Advisers) have found that in the early 1950s, less than 5 percent of the population worked in occupations covered by state licensing rules. Today its well over 20 percent. Some of this is surely justified. You need a license to drive a car, so requiring a special license to drive a bus is reasonable. Even there, though, you may wonder why its so much harder to become a licensed bus driver in New Jersey than anywhere else.

But a wide range of these rules could be done away with entirely at basically no risk. Regulation is needed when it would make sense for a firm to deliberately engage in malfeasance. Dumping harmful toxins into the air is highly profitable unless its prohibited. Financiers can draw huge bonuses by taking on too much risk, only to wreck the economy later. In other occupations, though, shoddy work brings its own punishments. An interior decorator who cant get recommendations from satisfied customers probably wont remain an interior decorator for long.

In these cases, licensing rules raise the prices the rest of us pay, make it difficult for successful entrepreneurs to expand their businesses, and are often a major barrier to employment for the most vulnerable populations. New Jerseys ban on high-school dropouts fixing locks sounds silly, but given the generally bleak prospects facing workers with little education, barring them from whole occupations is a big deal. States should take a good, hard look at their existing codes and ask whether mass unemployment isnt generally a bigger threat to the public than rogue barbers.

Yglesias is Slates business and economics correspondent. Before joining the magazine he worked for ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect.

Fit Business Insider Co-Owner Pat Rigsby’s 40th Birthday Sale Ends Today - PRWeb

Elizabethtown, KY (PRWEB) May 27, 2012

Today is the last day for personal trainers to take advantage of a series of product sales being offered by Fit Business Insider in honor of its owner, Pat Rigsby’s, birthday. The products all seek to show personal trainers ways fitness businesses can grow.

“Has there ever been a better time to start or grow a fitness business? The answer, plainly, is no,” says Pat Rigsby, Co-Owner of Fit Business Insider’s parent company Fitness Consulting Group.

Rigsby is co-owner of numerous successful fitness businesses. With a background as a college athletic coach, Rigsby has worked for the past decade to help find ways for personal training businesses to capture a growing niche market.

“My life’s passion – what brings me more joy than anything else besides my family – is helping fitness professionals achieve their goals and see their dreams through,” Rigsby explains. “I know that not all personal trainers are born salesmen, so I take it upon myself to help them.”

To these ends, Rigsby has made over 10 of his company’s fitness business information products and fitness marketing tools available at steep discounts. These discounts include five $100 discounts on: Bootcamp Automator, Bootcamp Business Builder, Client Blitz, Fitness Business Blueprint, and Fitness Sales Formula.

In addition to these products, Fit Business Insider is offering a $50 discount on its Fitness Profit Formula and $40 discounts on both the Facility Formula and the Fitness Staffing Formula. Additionally, membership to the company’s Elite Training Mentorship Program is now available for $10 less per month.

Among all of these extensive discounts, the Bootcamp Blueprint stands out, being on sale for $200 off the original price.

These and other discounted products cover diverse aspects of running personal training businesses. Though some focus on niche markets like fitness bootcamps, others focus on more general things like how to staff a company and how to employ successful fitness marketing.

“As I turn 40, I realize how the greatest gift one can receive is to be able to make a difference in the lives of others,” Rigsby says.

Today is the last day to get these savings. For information on the full sale, visit:

About Pat Rigsby and Nick Berry: Pat Rigsby and Nick Berry are the co-owners of Fitness Consulting Group, a leading business development consulting firm within the fitness industry.

Fit Business Insider is part of the Fitness Consulting Group family of companies. It provides personal trainers, coaches, and fitness business owners around the world with business building programs, coaching, consulting, and resources.

To learn more about growing your fitness business, visit


Risky business of running for US president - Gulf News

Washington: In the risky business of running for president, Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are largely playing it safe.

For all the small daily dramas of the 2012 campaign, there's a risk-averse dynamic playing out: Neither candidate has been making bold new policy proposals or displaying a free-wheeling personal style. So far, at least.

Part of that is just who they are: Obama always has been known for his cool demeanour, and Romney has discipline built into his corporate pedigree.

Neither of them has the swagger of former President George W. Bush, the renegade streak of 2008 Republican nominee John McCain or the rapscallion's grin of former President Bill Clinton.

But Obama and Romney are men who know how to gamble: Obama decided to run for president after just two years in the Senate, launched an ambitious health care overhaul effort while the economy was still on shaky ground, and gave the "go" order on the Osama Bin Laden raid. Romney entered politics after a career in private equity, where risk is part of the job description.

Despite their backgrounds, their caution as candidates extends well beyond personal style.

The president debated for weeks how and when to announce that he supports gay marriage, and only went public after remarks by Vice President Joe Biden nudged him along. When Obama finally did make his announcement, his words were carefully measured to tamp down any backlash. He spoke of dinnertime conversations with his daughters about treating people equally, and of abiding by the Golden Rule.

Romney, too, treated the issue gingerly, even as he disagreed with the president. He restated his opposition to legalising such marriages, but called it a "very tender and sensitive topic" and said he supported extending certain rights to gay couples.

Political psychologist Stan Renshon, a professor at City University of New York, said Romney has clearly decided that the benefits of sticking to a script outweigh any downsides.

"His No. 1 priority at this point is to establish himself as a bona fide alternative," Renshon says, "and the less risky he sounds, the more conventional, the more boring, the better off he is."

And Renshon said Obama's even demeanour helps him fend off accusations that he's too radical. The president's re-election argument is a recitation of promises kept and a plea for more time to deliver on those yet to be fulfilled.

For now, Obama doesn't see the need to strike out in new directions. His announcement on gay marriage, for all the commotion it generated, was largely seen as confirming what people already believed about him. And getting the word out early will make it feel like ancient history by Election Day in November.

Both candidates also have been wary in their interactions with the press — to the point that Romney's aides recently tried to physically bar reporters from approaching the candidate to question him as he shook hands with people standing along a rope line.

The Republican candidate later tried to smooth over the flap by paying an impromptu visit to reporters in the back of his campaign plane. But he took note of what a rarity that was by observing that his press aide was "about to pass out." And, no, he still didn't take questions.

Obama, for his part, is happy to use the press when it suits his purposes — he hastily scheduled a TV interview to reveal his shift on gay marriage — and to pummel reporters when that fits his campaign narrative.

In a talk to graduates at Barnard College earlier this month, Obama lamented that "faith in our institutions has never been lower, particularly when good news doesn't get the same kind of ratings as bad news anymore. Every day you receive a steady stream of sensationalism and scandal and stories with a message that suggest change isn't possible."

The candidates' wives also have been playing it safe for the most part.

Michelle Obama has largely steered clear of all the contentious talk about issues important to women — contraception, abortion, the Violence Against Women Act and more. Her standard speech at campaign fundraisers ticks off a list of accomplishments by her husband. Her public appearances largely focus on her two signature issues of fighting childhood obesity and supporting military families, both widely popular and non-political.

Ann Romney, for her part, generally sticks to a script while campaigning for her husband, sharing warm and humorous stories about Romney family life and the challenges of raising five boys.

David Ropeik, a Harvard professor and author of several books on risk, said it's no surprise that the candidates are being cautious "in a no-holds-barred, 24-7, scream-a-thon world, where any hint of what the other side might see as an error is guaranteed to explode."

But Ropeik said both men need to know that being too careful can do them more harm than good.

"Candidates take a huge risk by being so buttoned up that they fail to express human sincerity," Ropeik said. "It's risky not to be sincere — even though sincerity is risky."

As the campaign progresses, the candidates may well adopt more risky strategies to further their own ambitions, especially if the race remains close.

Obama, for example, raised eyebrows this week with a tough new ad that goes after Romney's record at the Bain Capital private equity firm. The ad quotes a former steelworker who compared the firm to a "vampire" that sucked the lifeblood out of companies.

The populist pitch may help fire up Obama's base of support but risks making it more difficult for him to attract voters in the political centre.



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