Getting Permission to Work

May 19, 2012

The Institute for Justice has this fairly thorough video demonstrating the preponderance of dubious occupational license requirements in many jurisdictions:

Back in 2006, I looked at the prevalence of occupational licensing in Hillsborough County, Florida – starting with the example of requiring auctioneers to be licensed. I thought it kind of funny that a person who wanted to be an auctioneer requires a government license, while a 16-year-old who wanted to operate a large roller coaster, like at the theme park where I used to work, did not. (Subsequently, that theme park quit hiring anyone under 18 years of age – not connected to my original column I’m sure.)

At the time, Hillsborough County issued two different auctioneer licenses: one for selling your own property and one for selling someone else’s. (I contemplated interviewing an actual auctioneer, but I realized that he or she might be difficult to understand.)

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‘Government Approved’

August 29, 2010

A little noticed effect of government regulation of industry is that it acts in ways to protect already established businesses from up-start competition, doing a disfavor to consumers. Part of the way it achieves this is through licensing and “seals of approval.”

A small section of a recent report on the current egg recall notes how the USDA issues such government approval:

A USDA official, though, told FoxNews.com that USDA agencies have had no involvement in food safety regulations over shell eggs. The official said USDA’s chief task was to send an official to the farms, including one involved in the latest outbreak, to grade the eggs — in other words, inspect them for thickness and cracks and other quality assurance factors in order to give them a USDA seal of approval.

“Quality” is here based on standards developed by a government bureaucracy. The story notes how such standards do not necessarily ensure safety:

That stamp, though, does not certify that an egg is salmonella-free.

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Another Government Licensing Absurdity

April 23, 2009

Go here for an interesting video from Reason.tv on government licensing of interior designers. I wrote a column for the Tampa Tribune a while back on government licensing that can be read here. Below is a short clip from the video. You’ll need to follow this link to view the full video.