Jim Epstein at Reason magazine writes a fantastic piece detailing the destruction of a small bus company based out of Greenville, North Carolina at the hands of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for safety violations despite never being involved in a serious accident.
In a nut shell, the FMCSA gets its kicks from finding minutiae violations, such as incorrect logs and not providing their employees with educational material, and using it to destroy small companies that either are naive enough to cooperate with them or do not have the political connections. In other words, they see it as their purpose to shut down businesses that provide jobs and stimulate the economy.
As is often the case when the government cracks down on an industry, small carriers lacking political connections and the right attorneys have received the brunt of the punishment, while the large corporate bus companies benefit from seeing their more nimble rivals driven out. By emphasizing that its efforts are a matter of saving lives, the government has gotten away with denying owners like Jeff and Judy Rodgers their constitutional right to due process.
………The company would likely be operating today if the Rodgers had hired a more experienced lawyer and taken a more adversarial approach. Georgia-based Transouth Motorcoach, which was shut down by the FMCSA in July, got its operating authority back by wisely avoiding the FMCSA’s appeals process and going directly to the courts.
Normal people assume that government regulations and regulatory agencies are there to protect our interests by ensuring businesses follow the rules. The reality is so different as to astound the morally conscious individual. Agencies like the FMCSA exist solely to exercise vast, unrestrained – and illegitimate – power and authority over other human beings. More often than not, the bureaucrats working these jobs are cruel, sadistic sociopaths, lacking empathy or compassion for other people. They relish engaging in ticky-tack, nit-picking that can spell disaster for people struggling to stay financially afloat.
The owners also happen to be black, which is another point Epstein brings up. FMCSA disproportionately targets small, minority-owned companies.
For some reason I doubt we’ll see much protesting going on over this.
It’s quite sad. With all the talk about racism and discrimination, chiefly in areas where it does not truly exist, it’s distressing that when it does actually occur there is little protest or even mention of it. Part of that, one could assume, is because the perpetrator of the racism is not some white guy living in the hicks and the sticks with a Confederate flag bumper sticker on his pickup truck and a gun rack on the back, but the federal government that has the audacity to claim it cares about protecting the civil liberties of minorities.
The best protection for minorities, especially small business owners, is for them to claim back their right to live their lives as they see fit and not require permission from a government with a sordid history of violating their rights in order to do so.