The city of Philadelphia is governed by the ordinary things one finds in American cities: a mayor, a city council, various bureaucracies. But it is also governed by something else: the word “no.” At nearly every level, Philadelphia’s city government and related bureaucracies operate with a one-word vocabulary; whatever the question is, the answer is “No.” In field after field after field—from zoning to permitting to occupational licensing—would-be entrepreneurs hear that answer time and again.
But as anyone who has ever spent time around a toddler can attest, a one-word vocabulary quickly wears thin—and in this (as in many things) what is tolerable in a toddler makes for terrible public policy. Saying nothing but “no” eventually yields exactly what one would expect: nothing.
And nothing, unfortunately, is what Philadelphia has to look forward to unless it begins to reshape its approach to entrepreneurship.
Arlington, Va.—Why are American business owners so frustrated with the government? Look no further than a lawsuit filed today in Arlington, Va. Entrepreneur Kim Houghton has filed a First Amendment suit against local bureaucrats who want to turn a playful mural Kim had painted on the back wall of “Wag More Dogs,” her canine…