John Stossel has an interesting piece featuring a woman from Africa who moved to Utah and made a living for four years braiding hair. She was then informed by some bureaucrat somewhere that in order to keep offering these services, she would have to apply for a license, which would require 2000 hours of class time:
The overarching theme of the piece-and it’s a good one- is that you are essentially allowing the busy-bodies of any given vocation to manage and limit their competition. This is true in a variety of professions in every state of the union, but it gets REALLY ridiculous when you consider the 2000 hours (as the Institute for Justice points out) is more than it takes to be a security guard, mortgage loan originator, real estate agent, EMT, and lawyer…combined. And this training doesn’t even teach what she does…at all.
What’s left out, and what I think is important is that we, as a society, and as voters, have bought into the concept that every single profession or service that anyone chooses should be blessed by a Government. In a world where consumers control the market (the real world as we thought we once knew it) the licensing would simply be replaced by certifications. These certifications could, or might not mean that the service providers would be able to charge more…if the market decided that the certifications warranted higher quality. But that wouldn’t mean that we couldn’t get the service from someone who didn’t have the certification. It then becomes the responsibility of the consumer to be educated and use judgement (GASP!).
But we seem to have accepted this…this babysitting of the Government over the simplest of professions. One COULD argue that professions involving law, finances, real estate, etc, and even health and security…might need some fraud protection rules from Government, and I’d argue those rules can go too far as well.
But Hair cuts? Massages? Contractors? Auctioneering? Body Piercing? Esthetics? (yep, that’s a real profession)…Check this out in VA:
At what point do voters actually decide that a particular type of business needs to be regulated? And who decides how much regulation and requirements are piled onto the entry into a particular profession? Or does this process begin a slightly different way…
(Hat tip to LibertyPen)