Larry Elder

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Applicant Signature

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Health Department Representative Signature

This application shall serve as the Applicant's temporary registration and shall remain valid until applicant's eligibility has been determined, not to exceed 30 days from date of application.

Official Use Only

Date Application Sent to Police Dept._____________________________

Application Approved_______________Denied_____________________

Registration Number_________________________________

But the Cincinnati ordinance raises a larger question. Some call panhandling a business. And, after all, businesses require licenses to operate, so why not the "business" of panhandling? But why require businesses to obtain licenses?

Without a license, a guy cannot go into the "business" of charging customers to transport them from A to B. George Will, in an article in The Washington Post, said, "The Institute for Justice argues that regulations that restrict entry into a field violate constitutional guarantees of liberty and equal protection of the laws when they bear no rational relationship to a legitimate government objective. In recent years the institute's litigators have opened the taxi markets of Denver, Cincinnati and Indianapolis and have emancipated the providers of jitney services in Houston, generally for the benefit of minorities and to the consternation of protected interests."

Also, one cannot cut hair, yet one can, without a license, charge to fix someone's brakes. In Free to Choose, economist Milton Friedman says, "(An) essential part of economic freedom is freedom to use the resources we possess in accordance with our own values -- freedom to enter any occupation, engage in any business enterprise, buy from and sell to anyone else, so long as we do so on a strictly voluntary basis and do not resort to force in order to coerce others.

"Today you are not free to offer your services as a lawyer, a physician, a dentist, a plumber, a barber, a mortician, or engage in a host of other occupations, without first getting a permit or license from a government official.

. . . You are not free to set up a bank, go into the taxicab business, or the business of selling electricity or telephone service, or running a railroad, busline, or airline, without first receiving permission from a government official."

Friedman also says, "If the argument is that we are too ignorant to judge good practitioners, all that is needed is to make the relevant information available. If, in full knowledge, we still want to go to someone who is not certified, that is our business."

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati panhandling application asks for: Home? Apt. no.? Phone number? Driver's license? Assuming a panhandler possesses all these things, why panhandle? Oh, well, no doubt the enlightened Cincinnati government will figure it out.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.