Occupational Licensing Video

Here’s the video of the Heritage session on occupational licensing. All the talks were good; short and to the point. Maureen Ohlhausen, Acting Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission leads off, Paul Larkin discusses some of the legal issues and legislation, my comments begin around 28:20 followed by Dexter Price who talks about his personal experience trying to get a DC license–he is more than qualified for his job in property management but DC requires that in order to manage property he needs a very expensive and time consuming realtor’s license even though he has no interest in buying and selling property.


Another fart in high wind.

Let's keep finding horrendous examples of borderline-criminal licensing requirements, patting ourselves on the back, and doing nothing other than continuing to vote Dem. Repeat.

Harsh but largely true. The one area where productivity would increase--better patent laws--is not being discussed by any politician. Pols talk about things people can understand, like 'red tape', 'less taxes', 'free health care', 'fight big business', 'tax the rich' and so forth. Trying to talk about the elasticity of supply for inventions and inventors is hopeless. AlexT and TC simply cater to their constituents, who are likewise clueless. After all, for thousands of years slavery was seen as not that bad (i.e., if you're captured in battle or warfare, you may be killed, so to be sold into slavery is the lesser evil was the rationale). In another 1000 years I'll be proven right, just live long enough and see.

Is there some pointed example of GOP members dismantling occupational licensing? It's very common all over the South where the GOP has overwhelming locks on legislatures and governorships. I know they are more than happy to crush a union, but licensing requirements are very common. Try to braid some hair in Mississippi and see where it gets you.


Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says state lawmakers should work to eliminate unnecessary state licenses.

Speaking Friday to state lawmakers gathered in Denver for the annual American Legislative Exchange Council's conference, Acosta called for repealing licensing laws that exist solely to block competition or create a privileged class within the workforce. While only one job out of 20 required a government-issued permission slip in the 1950s, today about a quarter of all jobs in America are subject to licensing. Acosta said that's "part of a nationwide trend where we regulate, and regulate, and regulate" at the expense of individual workers and the economy as a whole.

I'd certainly not suggest they don't talk about the licenses being a bad idea, but when do they actually repeal them? Acosta's home state of florida has many an occupational license. Maybe the barber's board has some seats open for him:


Bad hair wraps ruining your day? Cosmetology board to the rescue:


I saw a complaint about demanding Calculus II for pre-med. So I looked up Calculus II and it turns out to be stuff I learned in secondary school. It does, however, seem unlikely that sawbones and quacks will need that stuff. I mean, how much maths do you need to (i) accept medical conventional wisdom uncritically, and (ii) work long hours in a demanding apprenticeship?

But you learned Cal II in Germany? They learn lots of things early there. I one had to use trigonometry, as in Pythagoras theory, to compute the size of a triangular cabinet in the Philippines. I did this in the street, from memory recalling the cosine of a 45 degree angle (SQRT(2)/2, or about .71) and successfully, using paper and pencil, worked out the dimensions of the cabinet. When the street carpenter installed the cabinet weeks later, it fit perfectly. I was so proud of my math skills, they finally paid off!

It does seem difficult to relate to biology, but it's hard to judge given that I havn't been to medical school. I imagine that calculus might be used in the development of medical devices, and/or understanding certain chemical processes, possibly important to pharmaceutical manufacture, or drug delivery, or testing, etc. Not everyone who goes to medical school, or pre-med, becomes a doctor. A lot of them probably go into development of tests, drugs, devices, and so forth.

Is there a link to see the rest of Dexter Price's story? It seems compelling but the video cut out.

These arguments seem to be finding acceptance among the talking classes .. but what are the legislative trends? Winning?

Occupational Licensing enjoys continued strong support among legislators... who see it as a feature, not a bug (in their cozy world of special interest politics)

The licensing trend has been exponential since the 1960's. Milton Friedman started criticizing licensing back in the 1940'a and there are periodic minor spurts of academic/media concern every decade or so.
But the government licensing bureaucracy is huge and firmly entrenched across the nation -- constantly expanding its reach and rules complexity. The Occupational Licensing problem gets worse not better.

American Progressives have been spectacularly successful with their agenda... and still retain very impressive momentum from their many political and cultural successes in past century.

I think you were closer the first time, when you said "special interest politics." Wrong when you said it was some progressive agenda.

Good reading here: Thoughts on public choice theory

Some of politics is naked self-interest, and occupational licensing mostly falls in that part (playing on general fears of the population, of course).

I find progressive surprisingly sympathetic to occupational licensing reform. The problem is their knee jerk belief that nothing can be left unregulated makes it too easy for the licensing advocates to convince them that licenses for (say) yoga instructors are super important and necessary for public health. In other words, they are gullible when it comes to the need for regulation, of anything.

Why shouldn't it require a Ph.D. to become a Barber? Are you unaware of the dangers inherent in cutting hair? Are you too greedy to pay $60 per haircut?

Nope, it ain't leftists:

"That approach fails to explain why it is incumbents, not members of the public, who seek licensing rules most vigorously. "


The primary proponents are incumbents and their unions. The secondary ones are the politians corrupted by them. The tertiary ones are leftists and some conservatives. (Classical) liberals oppose.

Protectionism rules. Most protective is public education. It is a racket.

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