The American economy is increasingly going underground

And that's most usually a Third world phenomenon

As some of you know, I own a 66 Dodge Polara that I've spent several years and several thousand dollars restoring.

Owning an old car like that requires a trustworthy, inexpensive mechanic to work on it. When I bought my old clunker I was referred to one in Hialeah. Over the years my mechanic did a lot of work on my cacharro, including rebuilding the engine. I became quite friendly with him and during my visits to his shop I passively observed the difficulty of running a shop like his. Permits, insurance, inspectors, certifications, etc. etc. All of that plus the usual overhead like rent and payroll.

Well, long story short, my old car was parked in the garage without moving for an extended period of time. I finally got around to calling the mechanic to let him know I was coming in and he told me he had closed up shop, he'd come to me instead.

Now, this is typical of what's going on with small business. It's being driven underground. The current business environment is prohibitive to set up and keep up a shop. This is not the first time I've seen this. The guy that sold me the audio system for the same car became a friend and he always complained about the same permitting and inspection issues. Last time I saw him he said, "it's not worth it, I'd rather just go mobile and drive around to referrals in an unmarked van."

As these businesses go underground the remaining above-ground bricks and mortar shops will bear an increasing burden and eventually more of them will go underground too. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. We're regulating commerce to death.


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