Government Regulation, Stifling or Helpful?

Government regulation leads to endless debate. That debate might be more contested than religion or politics. It might be because government regulation discussions lead to political debates which often lead arguments over religion. The value of regulation is a sliding scale. It is clear that unbridled capitalism can be dangerous. It it is also clear that iron fisted control by heavy regulation is equally stifling. Rules set by our elected and non-elected officials impact almost every fact of our lives. We have more laws on the books, than ever before. From the air we breathe, to the products we buy, to the food we eat, all of it is regulated. The fine balance between consumer protection and stifling over-regulation is in measure. As business owners, we must comply with such rules. There is no doubt that these rules are often unnecessary, expensive, and sometimes career enders for entrepreneurs. It is also true that the rules are needed to keep consumers relatively safe, happy, and healthy. Consider these basic regulations enforced on restaurants which serve a simple cheeseburger:
  • Vegetables: The items must be clearly fresh. Pickles must be at least 1/8 inch thick.
  • Condiments: Grade “A” ketchup only with flavored  mayo only.
  • Beef: No more than 30% fat content and strict rules apply for how the meat is harvested.
Fast good restaurants have always been easy targets for health food activists or animal rights protesters. In reality, the beef served in today’s modern burger franchise is likely some of the safest, and cleanest meat you can find. The beef may not contain added water, fillers, or binders. Drugs like growth-stimulators are stopped on or before two weeks prior to slaughter so that the meds clear the system. The growing, slaughtering, and processing of beef is inspected up to six times before it finds its way onto your cheeseburger. What is amazing is how the fast food industry manages to grow, process, transport, cook, operate restaurants and market a cheeseburger at such a low price under these strict rules for quality and delivery. An example of balanced capitalism at work?
Attacking government and regulation officials is more popular than ever. As small business owners, we blame everything we cannot control for our failure. We blame the weather, the economy, and we certainly blame the government. In reality, there are successful small businesses in every economy, every political system, and in every type of weather system on the planet. Great entrepreneurs always find a way. The Breviary: Learn to view your local officials as trusted partners in your success and you might be surprised at the more positive outcome of your efforts. One of the best resources is still the SBA, you can find SBA resources at this link. Blog images sources from © Alexmillos | Dreamstime.com – Globe consumer protection sign illustration    
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