Regulatory Field

Want to create a job in Chicago? It is not that easy.

Especially in such tough economic times, people may be shocked to discover the lengths to which the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois go to discourage entrepreneurs who seek to create jobs for themselves and others. This updated report by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship documents how government regulations.

The sheer volume, cost and complexity of regulations on small businesses in Chicago are head-spinning. Among the most corrupting and stifling of the restrictions is the veto power aldermen can exercise over the entrepreneurial aspirations of anyone in their ward—the power to kill a small-business person’s American Dream before it can even get started. Getting into business in Chicago shouldn’t require someone to kiss the alderman’s ring. The marketplace—and not the government—is best able to decide if a business will succeed.

This report examines government-created barriers in industries that have traditionally provided a better way of life for the economically disenfranchised. Economic liberty—the right to pursue an honest living without arbitrary government interference—must be respected by governments at every level. Government policies should aim to foster honest enterprise, not layer regulation over stifling regulation, especially now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Chicago area lost more jobs in the past year than any other metropolitan area, losing 70,800 non- farm jobs between July 2009 and July 2010.1

Among the Chicago regulatory burdens examined in the report are those dealing with: home-based businesses, food service providers, street vendors, child play centers, retail computing centers and commercial vehicles. The study also looks at state laws that license: barbers, African hairbraiders, nail technicians, landscape designers/contractors, engineers and moving companies. The report is filled with the real-life stories of Chicago entrepreneurs who want to do nothing more than earn an honest living, but find government regulations standing in their way.

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