All over the country, it is becoming more and more apparent just how many nonsensical regulations exist solely to ward off small-business competition. Just over the past weekend, three different outlets in three states published critiques of burdensome occupational licensing laws.
Boston Globe Columnist Jeff Jacoby took note of just how many professions now require government licenses to operate—professions where the need for a license is highly questionable:
To compel would-be surgeons and airline pilots to obtain the government’s imprimatur as a condition of employment is one thing. But when the states impose licensing mandates on locksmiths and yoga instructors and hair braiders and florists, they clearly aren’t being motivated by concern for public safety and the well-being of powerless consumers.
The Institute for Justice, the nation’s leading libertarian law firm, has long argued that licensing laws block honest people from doing honest work. That makes entrepreneurship more difficult in general.
The Tennessean not only referenced IJ’s research on licensing, but also a 2015 report from the White House acknowledging the need to reform many occupational licensing requirements. The article weighs in on the requirement that shampooers in Tennessee must first obtain licenses:
Research suggests that licensing increases the prices of all services for consumers, with much less convincing evidence that it improves the quality of those services. In addition to potentially raising prices for consumers, requiring shampooers in Tennessee to obtain a license would also discourage aspiring entrepreneurs from entering the state’s job market.
The Salk Lake Tribune gave several examples of licensing demands in Utah that make no sense:
Consider the requirements for a few specific professions: It takes 233 days to become a barber, 140 days to become a masseuse and 140 days to become a skin care specialist. And aspiring professionals in each of these fields must pass two exams and pay at least $95 in fees.
These requirements seem particularly absurd when compared to other professions. In New York, for example, more job training is required for make-up artist than for EMTs.