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Latest Recessionary Signpost: Barbering Without a License

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CRIMINAL BARBERING
DailyFeed
The threat posed by the state fiscal crisis in the U.S. is vastly underestimated and under-appreciated.

So wrote banking analyst Meredith Whitney recently in a compelling op-ed. She observed: “State budgets are likely to experience their second consecutive year with deficits of close to $200 billion. The root of the problem is simple: State governments have spent recklessly and unsustainably. Rainy-day funds are depleted, pension-fund contributions are already at record lows, and almost all of the major federal government subsidy programs will run out in June 2011.”

So what can state and local governments do about these serious financial woes?

Sure, they can try to raise taxes and make service cuts. Alternatively, they can also regulate every imaginable market and penalize any small business owner who doesn’t comply. For instance, did you know that cutting hair without a license was a crime that carries a triple-digit fine?

Well, it is. At least in the Sunshine State:

“As many as 14 armed Orange County deputies, including narcotics agents, stormed Strictly Skillz barbershop during business hours on a Saturday in August, handcuffing barbers in front of customers during a busy back-to-school weekend.

It was just one of a series of unprecedented raid-style inspections the Orange County Sheriff's Office recently conducted with a state regulating agency, targeting several predominantly black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Pine Hills area.

In "sweeps" on Aug. 21 and Sept. 17 targeting at least nine shops, deputies arrested 37 people — the majority charged with "barbering without a license," a misdemeanor that state records show only three other people have been jailed in Florida in the past 10 years.”

According to the report, most of the barbers charged with licensing violations as a result of the sheriff's operation pleaded no contest and were ordered to pay fines of about $500. (Hat tip: Carpe Diem
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