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Sour Notes From The Feds

The FTC has set their sights on...piano teachers, those modern-day robber barons.

Chris Queen


November 30, 2013 - 9:00 am
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For a couple of years, in my late-middle and early-high school days, I took piano lessons. Every Monday after school, my mom would take me to a historic home on the campus of Oxford College where Mrs. Jean Phillips would invest an hour of time in a talented kid who didn’t practice enough. My parents paid Mrs. Phillips $10 a week to teach me how to play.

Looking back at those days, two thoughts come to mind. First, I wish I had practiced more, because then my parents would have let me take lessons longer. Second, Mrs. Phillips was a little old lady from church who charged a paltry sum to teach kids piano. These days, she might have caught the eye of the feds. You read that right – the federal government is now going after piano teachers for price gouging and suppression of competition.

This is no joke, as Kim Strassel reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Every month, it seems, brings a new story of this presidency leveling the intimidating powers of the federal government against some law-abiding citizen. Now comes a terrifying tale of how the Federal Trade Commission, a governmental Goliath, crushes an average David—because it can.

In March of this year, a small nonprofit in Cincinnati—the Music Teachers National Association—received a letter from the FTC. The agency was investigating whether the association was engaged in, uh, anticompetitive practices.


The association’s sin, according to the feds, rested in its code of ethics. The code lays out ideals for members to follow—a commitment to students, colleagues, society. Tucked into this worthy document was a provision calling on teachers to respect their colleagues’ studios, and not actively recruit students from other teachers.

That’s a common enough provision among professional organizations (doctors, lawyers), yet the FTC avers that the suggestion that Miss Sally not poach students from Miss Lucy was an attempt to raise prices for piano lessons.

Essentially, the FTC is accusing the MTNA of allowing its teachers to be mini-monopolies, cruelly price gouging poor students who supposedly can’t jump ship to an instructor who charges less. It goes without saying that the FTC view of things is far from reality.

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All Comments   (4)
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Seems to me it's more like the federal government is looking actively for every opportunity to impose it's will on every citizen it can target for any reason it can find.

Do that enough, and you will eventually break the spirit of the people and they will sheepishly do as they are ordered to by the federal government.

At least in theory.....

(There is an alternative reaction by the people to such overt tyranny of the bureaucracy, but I'm sure the probability of such an alternative reaction doesn't even register in the hearts and minds of our bureaucratic overlords.)

I'm greatly interested in what kind of support all of these musicians who cut those "Save the Music" commercials will provide to Obama, since they generally supported the S.O.B., now that his administration is running so roughshod over their industry and any budding future musicians.

My advice to the organization would be to toss in the towel, cross their arms, look the feds right in the eye, and inform them that the entire organization is shutting down due to a financial inability to comply with their demands.

The feds doing this to them won't be upset - but it would be a hell of a public image for the administration to deal with.

Kind of a "Go Galt" approach...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm sure this is just part of the Left's program: keep the boot of the government on the neck of the people, squeezing every last drop of freedom from them. This activity will increase and will eventually affect everyone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's almost like the administration doesn't want young people educated in any way at all. I suppose learning music is fostering too much individual thought, and that must be suppressed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's a private, voluntary organization. The solution, obviously, is to have a government run organization, because then there'd be no anti-competitive activities.

Because, government!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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