Leef documents for Forbes readers an attack of the bureaucrats

George Leef’s latest column for Forbes documents another example of bureaucratic overreach.

Just when you think you’ve heard about the worst case of federal bureaucratic bullying, along comes a story that makes you shake your head in disbelief.

As Kimberly Strassel wrote in her recent Wall Street Journal article “Piano Sonata in FTC Minor,” the government agency charged with protecting consumers against anticompetitive actions intended to restrain trade has gone after a tiny professional association, the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

MTNA is a non-profit association of about 24,000 music teachers. If you are a parent who has ever found a music teacher for one of your children, you’re familiar with the sort of person who is apt to be a member of this organization – a teacher who loves music and enjoys helping youngsters develop both their appreciation for and talent in performing music. (I should add that MTNA is just one of several such organizations in the U.S.)

Sadly, some petty bureaucrat in the Federal Trade Commission, which proclaims its mission of “protecting America’s consumers” somehow happened across the fact that, buried in MTNA’s code of ethics, there is an admonition that members should not actively recruit students from other members. That passage set off alarm bells at the FTC. Strassel writes, “(T)he FTC avers that the suggestion that Miss Sally not poach students from Miss Lucy was an attempt to raise prices for piano lessons. Given that the average lesson runs around $30 an hour, and that some devoted teachers still give lessons for $5 a pop, this is patently absurd.”

That’s putting it mildly.

I’m certain that regular “Locker Room” readers are shocked to learn about shenanigans involving the FTC.

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