Occupational licensing keeps poor people poor and undermines innovation and competition for the consumer

 

Most occupational licenses are about keeping competition at bay.

Want to cut hair, sell lemonade, or even walk you neighbor’s dog? Better get a license. You wouldn’t want the cops to show up at your door would you?

Heck, even Joe Biden (who has done much to criminalize much economic activity) seems to sort of get it.

And it’s not just the time. There are huge (non-time) costs associated with becoming a hairdresser in many places. As in thousands of dollars.

However, there has been some progress on the licensing front recently. In Arizona a law was just passed that recognizes work licenses from other states. So if one is a barber in New Mexico and one moves to Tempe one doesn’t have to get a new (and expensive) license for Arizona anymore. This is a positive development.