A backlash seems to be brewing against the excesses of occupational licensing.
Abby Schachter reports in a new paper for the Independent Women's Forum:
In 2013, Republican Gov. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa vetoed the licensing of addictive disorder counselors and related occupations, while in Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence vetoed the licensing of diabetes counselors and anesthesiologist assistants and dietitians.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbot's platform includes reforming occupational licensing to reduce barriers to doing business. "There are currently 150 business activities that currently require a state-issued license before they can be legally performed in Texas. Some of these are necessary for the health and safety of our citizens…But many are unnecessary or overly burdensome. For example, why do we require a license to be an interior designer? Or a salvage vehicle dealer? Or a 'shampoo apprentice'?" Abbot declares on his campaign website. This is an important matter for voters to hear and could lead to real change.
America's labor market, once famously flexible, has been rendered much less so. As The Economist notes, stifling occupational regulations make it harder for people, especially at the bottom of the economic ladder, to find jobs: "The spread of occupational licensing, for everything from horse massage to hair braiding, has raised barriers to entry for occupations that once required little or no training."
Those most affected are the young, the poor, and the unemployed. Meanwhile, members of Kotkin's "clerisy" find work teaching in schools needed for licensing, and in enforcing the licensing programs.