I argue that America has become a country where no one can know what is legal.
Kids who open lemonade stands are now shutdown by police. I tried to open a lemonade stand legally in NYC. That was quite an adventure. It takes 65 days to get permission from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
With government adding 80,000 pages of rules and regulations every year, it's no surprise that regular people break laws without even trying.
A small businessman spent 6 years in federal prison for breaking Honduran regulations (and, to make it worse, the Honduran government said he didn't). A family in Idaho can't build a home on their land because the EPA says it's a wetland-but it only resembles a wetland because a government drain malfunctioned and flooded it.
TAXI TROUBLE: Want to start a taxi business? Too bad - it's illegal. Illegal, that is, unless you buy a government-issued "taxi medallion" that can cost as much as a million dollars. One city has a free market for cabs - Washington, DC - but lobbyists there are pushing to regulate.
ILLEGAL FOOD: Increasingly, government tells us what we can and can't eat -- bans on trans-fat, happy meals, "raw" foods. California officials raided a raw food club, and arrested clerks for selling unpasteurized milk. Farmer Joel Salatin, author of "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal," explains why Americans DON'T have the freedom to choose the food they eat.
ILLEGAL DRUGS: Drug use is illegal - but should it be? Where drugs are legal, businessmen replace gangs as the dealers and pay taxes. Portugal decriminalized all drugs 10 years ago--including crack, ecstasy, and heroin. What has happened since then? We go to Portugal and get the facts from police, politicians, and drug addicts.
ILLEGAL SEX: Our government bans prostitution because people think it's a dirty, dangerous business. But in brothels where prostitution is legal there is no crime or disease. On this show, three sex workers confront a prosecutor.
One bit of good news is that while there may be so many laws that no one knows if he's a lawbreaker, it has never been easier to "watch the watchmen." Tiny cameras in our iPods and cell phones allow citizens to film law enforcement and hold our government accountable. But in the last few years, cops have arrested and jailed people for taping in public. The arrests are not legal, but they happen anyway. Fortunately, arrests are caught on tape.
This Week's Show -- July 3, 2014
DOOM AND GLOOM MEDIA: The media tell you about problems-like poverty, climate change, an energy "crisis." But "The Rational Optimist" Author Matt Ridley says "actually, things have been getting better, much better."
LIFE GETS BETTER: Author Robert Bryce says most everything today is "Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper."
FREE MARKETS: Vox.com writer Zack Beauchamp understands things are better. He says, "markets are a big part of the story... because they spark innovation." But he's also a lefty who believes is plenty of government regulation. I'll push him on that...
FRACKING FEARS: Is fracking dangerous? People tell us it is. My state has banned it. But FrackNation creator Ann Mcelhinney says fracking is "a marvelous thing" and "we need more of it, not less."
MEDICAL MARVELS: Today is one of the most exciting times in history for technology and medicine. Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell explains that doctors now can provide things for patients, like 3D Printer produced organs, that we never imagined were possible.
HOW FAR WE'VE COME: Chris Cheng is a gay and Asian male-a twofer in terms of historic discrimination. But now he works with the NRA and makes speeches about guns. That almost certainly would not have happened in the "good old days."
MY TAKE: Politicians will destroy our future if they continue to ban innovation with regulation. But despite our irresponsible politicians, life has gotten better. Google will inform us about most anything within seconds. Facebook, Instagram, Skype, and email allow us to share all kinds of things. And all of it's free. If innovators can just keep creating new things faster than politicians and regulators can kill them, our future will indeed be the good NEW days.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network