It ain’t right to charge a man for tryin’ to make a livin’

This is why we have government regulations. This is why some people think we shouldn’t:

“I got paid to do a job. And I was hired for money.”

“Granted, it was wrong. Hell, it would have taken an hour to cut it up, cut it up. And by that time, you done caused a big ruckus.” It takes longer and it costs more to do it right.

It’s pretty clear why they did it: “Honestly, I figured I could do it and not get caught.”

Which is why we have enforcement of government regulations (ideally, anyway).

But, you know, it’s just those big-guvmint regulations out of control, trying to keep the little business owner down: “Licensed and insured, no? I just do it just to do it. .. Nah, I ain’t no big time company man. I ain’t got none of that.  I’m just an individual trying to make a livin.’ ”

How do you try to evade responsibility for ignoring the law: “And we’re gonna get charged for trying cut down a tree to make money? That’s wrong. Don’t you think that’s wrong? Trying to get charged for making money? … Don’t you think that’s wrong at all? You do, don’t you? It ain’t right to blame a man for trying to make a livin?”

It’ would be wrong, the newscaster said, “If you do the job right.” They did not.

This is a funny little clip, but it also seems to exemplify a bigger problem. These two gentleman see government regulation as an impediment to making a living. And, to the extent that’s what they’re trying to do, it is. But it’s also about making sure that people more interested in making a dollar or getting to the lake with their girlfriends don’t take shortcuts that end up getting in everyone else’s way. Their attitude seems awfully similar to Republicans and Democrats alike who put the interests of industry – especially industries that donate – above the common good.

I’m reminded of the coal industry and its political supporters*. What industry are you reminded of?

It’s easy to see why these two guys are wrong. Can we apply this lesson more broadly?

*For the record, every coal miner I’ve met in my life is way smarter and more responsible than either of these guys. I’m talking about the folks running the operation and the politicians who support them. Their decisions, unlike these guys, are a result of applying the profit motive, not an underdeveloped intelligence.

2 Responses to It ain’t right to charge a man for tryin’ to make a livin’

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