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How Government Regulations Are Harming Entrepreneurs

Summary:
Editor’s Note. The following is a guest post written by Anastasia Boden. Anastasia is an attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Economic Liberty Project, where she challenges anti-competitive licensing laws and laws that restrict freedom of speech. The Pacific Legal Foundation fights against overbearing government bureaucracies and burdensome economic regulations that hold back entrepreneurs and business owners. To learn more about Pacific Legal Foundation’s work, visit:  https://pacificlegal.org/blog/issues/economic-liberty/. It’s hard to imagine a world where entrepreneurship doesn’t exist. Entrepreneurs are crucial to spurring economic development, and prosperity. It’s hard to imagine a world where entrepreneurship doesn’t exist. Entrepreneurs are crucial to

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Editor’s Note. The following is a guest post written by Anastasia Boden. Anastasia is an attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Economic Liberty Project, where she challenges anti-competitive licensing laws and laws that restrict freedom of speech. The Pacific Legal Foundation fights against overbearing government bureaucracies and burdensome economic regulations that hold back entrepreneurs and business owners. To learn more about Pacific Legal Foundation’s work, visit:  https://pacificlegal.org/blog/issues/economic-liberty/.

It’s hard to imagine a world where entrepreneurship doesn’t exist. Entrepreneurs are crucial to spurring economic development, and prosperity.

It’s hard to imagine a world where entrepreneurship doesn’t exist. Entrepreneurs are crucial to spurring economic development, and prosperity.

However, one of the amazing advantages often overlooked about entrepreneurship is how the products and services it offers make our lives incredibly awesome.

Thanks to the creativity, innovativeness, and sheer hard work of entrepreneurs, we get to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, drink craft beers, eat artisanal butter, and enjoy a myriad other delicious culinary options made by hardworking entrepreneurs. Pretty soon, the ingenuity of entrepreneurs will lead us to a future where our hamburgers are made out of meat grown in a laboratory, and drones are delivering dinners right to our doorsteps.

Economic liberty under threat

Entrepreneurs are able to do these things because they have the freedom to create. And as long as laws that cover them are well-crafted, we can expect well-crafted products and services as well.

Some laws, however, are causing harm to entrepreneurs and are limiting their ability to create topnotch goods for the market.

One example of such regulations is the butter grading law that’s in place in Wisconsin. Under this law, all butter produced in the state can only be sold after undergoing butter grading, which includes a mandatory government taste test.

If the state is to be believed, butter grading protects consumers because it gives them information about the butter they buy to ensure they get only a product that’s in line with their preferences.

The butter grading process factors in the taste of the butter, its color, saltiness, and consistency to come up with a composite score which will ultimately determine the butter’s grade. Butter grades have descriptions like “highly pleasing” and “mildly pleasing” attached to them.

The question is, are the butter consumers of Wisconsin better informed now that government bureaucrats have dictated where their butter falls on the pleasure spectrum?

Legislating taste

The truth is, all the butter grading law does is legislate taste, not provide crucial buying information to consumers. Through this law, the State of Wisconsin now has the final say as to whether or not butter tastes good or not. Never mind that taste is one of the most subjective things in the world. Forget that some people want their butter on the salty side, while others like a lighter taste.

Considering that our individual tastes are incredibly varied, there simply is no way for the state to know what consumers would like. Even more appalling is the idea of a law presuming it can dictate consumer preferences.

The butter grading law was packaged as a form of consumer protection, but it does everything but protect consumers. This mandatory grading increases the cost of production for local dairies. Those costs will eventually be passed on to consumers. Small and artisanal buttermakers are also taking a hit because they could be turning out perfectly good products that cater to certain tastes, yet still end up with a stamp of inferiority courtesy of the butter grading statute.

Constitutional issues

Wisconsin’s butter situation is hardly one of the top policy problems in the nation today, but the butter grading law—and other regulations across the United States that are just as arbitrary—does present serious problems as far as the U.S. Constitution is concerned. And, not unexpectedly, a family-owned buttermaker is now putting a spotlight on the said constitutional problems.

Minerva Dairy, which is based in Ohio, has challenged Wisconsin’s butter grading law in court, claiming it’s a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and the Due Process Clause.

Freedom for entrepreneurs

The Constitution has promised us economic liberty, among other things, and regulations like the butter grading law in Wisconsin are, from all indications, curtailing that freedom.

If anything, entrepreneurs should have all the freedom to produce goods that consumers want, not ones that the state dictates. With the freedom to create, the ability of entrepreneurs to come up with innovative products and services will continue and even pick up speed.

Whoever wins or loses in a free market should be a decision by consumers, not the state. It should be up to them to buy based on their own tastes, not on labels the state slaps on goods by virtue of poorly-crafted laws. If we want exceptional products, we need well-written regulations that encourage and protect entrepreneurship.

t’s hard to imagine a world where entrepreneurship doesn’t exist. Entrepreneurs are crucial to spurring economic development, and prosperity.

However, one of the amazing advantages often overlooked about entrepreneurship is how the products and services it offers make our lives incredibly awesome.

Thanks to the creativity, innovativeness, and sheer hard work of entrepreneurs, we get to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, drink craft beers, eat artisanal butter, and enjoy a myriad other delicious culinary options made by hardworking entrepreneurs. Pretty soon, the ingenuity of entrepreneurs will lead us to a future where our hamburgers are made out of meat grown in a laboratory, and drones are delivering dinners right to our doorsteps.

Economic liberty under threat

Entrepreneurs are able to do these things because they have the freedom to create. And as long as laws that cover them are well-crafted, we can expect well-crafted products and services as well.

Some laws, however, are causing harm to entrepreneurs and are limiting their ability to create topnotch goods for the market.

One example of such regulations is the butter grading law that’s in place in Wisconsin. Under this law, all butter produced in the state can only be sold after undergoing butter grading, which includes a mandatory government taste test.

If the state is to be believed, butter grading protects consumers because it gives them information about the butter they buy to ensure they get only a product that’s in line with their preferences.

The butter grading process factors in the taste of the butter, its color, saltiness, and consistency to come up with a composite score which will ultimately determine the butter’s grade. Butter grades have descriptions like “highly pleasing” and “mildly pleasing” attached to them.

The question is, are the butter consumers of Wisconsin better informed now that government bureaucrats have dictated where their butter falls on the pleasure spectrum?

Legislating taste

The truth is, all the butter grading law does is legislate taste, not provide crucial buying information to consumers. Through this law, the State of Wisconsin now has the final say as to whether or not butter tastes good or not. Never mind that taste is one of the most subjective things in the world. Forget that some people want their butter on the salty side, while others like a lighter taste.

Considering that our individual tastes are incredibly varied, there simply is no way for the state to know what consumers would like. Even more appalling is the idea of a law presuming it can dictate consumer preferences.

The butter grading law was packaged as a form of consumer protection, but it does everything but protect consumers. This mandatory grading increases the cost of production for local dairies. Those costs will eventually be passed on to consumers. Small and artisanal buttermakers are also taking a hit because they could be turning out perfectly good products that cater to certain tastes, yet still end up with a stamp of inferiority courtesy of the butter grading statute.

Constitutional issues

Wisconsin’s butter situation is hardly one of the top policy problems in the nation today, but the butter grading law—and other regulations across the United States that are just as arbitrary—does present serious problems as far as the U.S. Constitution is concerned. And, not unexpectedly, a family-owned buttermaker is now putting a spotlight on the said constitutional problems.

Minerva Dairy, which is based in Ohio, has challenged Wisconsin’s butter grading law in court, claiming it’s a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and the Due Process Clause.

Freedom for entrepreneurs

The Constitution has promised us economic liberty, among other things, and regulations like the butter grading law in Wisconsin are, from all indications, curtailing that freedom.

If anything, entrepreneurs should have all the freedom to produce goods that consumers want, not ones that the state dictates. With the freedom to create, the ability of entrepreneurs to come up with innovative products and services will continue and even pick up speed.

Whoever wins or loses in a free market should be a decision by consumers, not the state. It should be up to them to buy based on their own tastes, not on labels the state slaps on goods by virtue of poorly-crafted laws. If we want exceptional products, we need well-written regulations that encourage and protect entrepreneurship.

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