, Salem, MA


February 1, 2011

My View: Let market decide how many psychics are too many

Speaking as the employer of the largest number of psychic readers and the single largest generator of psychic license revenue in the city of Salem, I want to go on record as being strongly against any sort of cap. While they would probably not affect existing businesses such as mine, the issue of caps concerns me for two other reasons entirely.

First, I think there are serious constitutional issues with limiting fair trade, especially when that trade centers around a practice so intrinsically tied up with religious belief systems such as Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Spiritualism and other faiths that embrace psychic work.

In an age where so many people are calling for less government intrusion into our lives, we should not be looking for more ways to regulate everything that businesses do, especially when those practices are an extension of one's religious beliefs. We would never dream of trying to restrict a Catholic gift shop, as it is encompassed by the greater spiritual mission of the church.

Second, while it may seem convenient for those of us who, like myself, could not get licenses before the change in ordinance two years ago, to now stifle the licenses for future potential businesses is as unfair to new businesses as the old ordinance was to us.

Competition is good. It forces businesses to raise the bar, and this can only improve options for the consumer. The harsh reality is if there is not enough business to support an increased number of psychics, then those psychics who do not satisfy the consumers who seek them out will go out of business — just like any business that doesn't put quality first. That's the way of the world. Do your job well or fail.

Collective sympathy should not be considered a panacea for failing businesses but for extreme, industrywide cases such as bank bailouts and the like. By local government placing caps on smaller industries like the psychic trade, government would not only be achieving its goal of restricting the number of psychics — something the free market would take care of on its own — we would also have a case of government protectionism for those psychics who would, under such caps, no longer have to continue to demonstrate their talent in order to stay in business.

I cannot support that for either the psychics who work for me, or for any psychic in town. Let the cream rise to the top, and let the sour milk be poured down the drain.

• • •

Christian Day has long been active in Salem's psychic community and helps organize the annual psychic fair and other Halloween-related events.

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