Kevin Carey has a sadly amusing post on occupational licensing:
Back when I was working for the Indiana General Assembly, one member…became convinced that it was crucially important for the state to address, via statute, the problem of rogue hypnotists traveling the land, preying upon unsuspecting Hoosiers. He wasn’t anti-hypnotist, mind you–he thought the government needed to protect people from unqualified hypnotists…
So the state passed a hypnotist licensing law, complete with the requisite boards, professional standards, forms to fill out, fees to pay, and so on….Then, after the law was enacted, a funny thing started happening: The state began receiving license applications from people who didn’t live in Indiana….It turns out they were doing it so they could advertise in the yellow pages and on bus-stop billboards as “state-licensed.”
Hat tip to Matt Yglesias.