We’ve all heard tales of the federal bureaucracy running amuck in a regulation frenzy. But this tale is something even beyond the works of the most talented joke writer.
We learned about it in a letter from the National Federation of Small Business Legal Center. Yeah, it was a letter seeking a donation to fight regulations that are choking small businesses. It’s about Marty the Magician and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The letter said it’s no joke and there was a story in the Washington (D.C.) Post about it.
Marty Hahne is a magician in Springfield, Mo. He uses a rabbit in his magic show for children. Marty was forced to obtain a USDA federal license for his rabbit. Then the USDA informed him of a new rule. He must write and file a disaster plan to protect the bunny in case of a man-made natural disaster, such as a fire, flood, tornado, ice storm or power failure.
Under the new rule, every magician is mandated — under force of law — to carry his bunny contingency plan and be ready to present it for inspection at all times as he visits 150 performance sites, including schools, churches, libraries and homes.
The federal government has informed Marty that he must submit to surprise inspections of his home. And get this. If he goes out of town, he has to file an itinerary with the USDA in Washington, D.C.
This law dates to 1966. It was four pages at that time. Now it is 14 pages long.
Marty found out something else that most small-business owners aren’t aware of. Any verbal abuse, as defined by a bureaucrat, of an inspector carries a $1,000 fine for each incident. In other words, if you argue with the inspector, you may be cited and have to pay a $1,000 fine.
These regulations can’t be enforced very effectively because we don’t think the USDA has enough inspectors to check on every bunny magician in the country.
Yes, this is government out of control. Our tax dollars are being used to pay people who wrote these regulations, mandated by the bureaucracy and not by Congress. It’s the old story of giving federal departments too much power to write regulations.
This gives us a picture of several USDA bureaucrats with nothing to do, sitting in their offices in Washington, D.C., dreaming up ridiculous regulations. They probably are laughing while doing it. Silly time in D.C. goes on all the time.
Our elected representatives in Congress need to stop this type of harassment of small businesses. With all of the departments we have in the federal government, think of the thousands of regulations that their employees write that are ridiculous, and a barrier to doing business by entrepreneurs and the little man or woman trying to keep their businesses afloat.