Reason’s Steven Greenhut reports that a California Senate committee killed a bill, by a party-line 6-2 vote, that would have eliminated licensing requirements for a range of activities, including fitting and selling hearing aids, barbering, and performing custom upholstery services.
While licensing requirements are supposedly designed to promote public safety and health, these rules are rarely relevant to the job at hand. Additionally, such restrictions are usually supported by parties that benefit from barriers preventing newcomers into their respective lines of work.
What’s worse, such requirement require poor Californians to jump through unnecessary hoops in order to work, which leads to fewer of them being employed.
California has the nation’s highest poverty rates, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau standard that includes cost-of-living factors. A good starting place to address that problem is to chip away at unnecessary barriers to work. Trade groups, however, recognize that the best way to inflate their members’ pay is to raise the cost of entry for others—and the more fields regulated this way, the more it keeps poor people in the welfare lines.
“One out of every five Californians must receive permission from the government to work,” explained a 2016 report from the state’s official watchdog agency, the Little Hoover Commission. “What once was a tool for consumer protection, particularly in the healing arts professions, is now a vehicle to promote a multitude of other goals. These include professionalism of occupations, standardization of services, a guarantee of quality and a means of limiting competition among practitioners, among others.”
Consider the freedom issue there too. We need to ask the government for permission to work?
The Little Hoover study found that the laws succeeded mainly in keeping “Californians from working, particularly harder-to-employ groups such as former offenders and those trained or educated outside of California, including veterans, military spouses and foreign-trained workers.” The problem is particularly acute for ex-offenders who often are barred from entering a variety of fairly low-skill professions by licensing rules that forbid them from entering the market.
However, when the Hearing Healthcare Providers of America and the California Nurses Association tell state Democrats to jump, don’t expect them to think about the little guy before they ask “How high?”
Source: A Simple Fool – California Democrats kill licensing reform