You want to hear a real horror? I started a company in 1993 that has served thousands of clients, now employs 30 people, and is largely unregulated. There are no federal or state laws that specifically contemplate my business model, which seeks to provide a creative, sensible, win-win alternative to bankruptcy*.
Isn’t that awful? We are actually pretentious enough that we would dare to operate and build businesses without the prior stamp of approval from the Emperor.
Oh, there are bad actors, of course–just like in any industry or profession. Two that I know of were outright frauds, and I didn’t shed a tear when they were shut down. Of course, they were shut down under the authority of a simple principle that’s been around for 10,000 years, at least, and was even encoded into law about 3,000 years ago: Thou shalt not steal.
But because the industry has grown and has all sorts of variations and off-shots, it has been determined by the "authorities" that "regulation" is "required".
And, so, I’ve been making trips to Chicago over the last few months to sit around the table with other industry leaders and state commissioners charged with drafting a Uniform State Law. These are the folks who wrote the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), and things like that.
Anyway, the draft is complete, and once it’s approved by the full Conference of Commissioners in Philadelphia at the end of July, it will go out to the 50 state legislatures. Will it pass? Don’t know.
But even if it does, it’s still a loss, for me. The following is just out in email to an industry email list I own and have run since 1994. A phrase or two is ripped off from a recent email exchange with Billy Beck:
I think it’s important to make a critical distinction, here.
It’s not "fine with me", as you characterize it, but I believe we can probably make it work–though that’s not going to be easy.
Aside from the philosophical implications of having fee caps (really, price fixing) imposed upon us, European style, all this "accomplishes" is to unjustly punish good operators for the misdeeds of bad ones and the alleged misdeeds of others.
If this is what we "need" in order to operate "legitimately", out in the open, and to take away some of the steam from regulators and special interests who have it so easy at our expense, then I’m prepared to grudgingly support it–even though I make a lousy pragmatist.
But I’m not going to applaud them, nor am I going to pretend that they have bestowed any favor upon me. The whole exercise is a fiction. The Emperor still has no clothes.
I entered this with no illusions. I knew that it was not about winning or losing, but only about losing a little less than I otherwise would have. There was really nothing to gain. There was only to mitigate loss.
Everything we had to "gain" was already ours. Thus, we could only lose.
* Paradoxically, bankruptcy is primarily for the benefit of creditors, not debtors.