The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Opportunity-Killing Laws

by John Stossel

I’ve often reported on how licensing laws kill opportunity. Typically, politically connected businesses band together with regulators in the name of creating “standards” for “safety”, “fairness”, etc., but the regulations quickly become a mechanism for protecting the establishment from cheaper or more innovative competition.

In DC, a “cosmetology board” was putting innovative hair braiders out of business. With the help of the Institute for Justice the hairdressers took that case to court and won. But politicians, urged on by special interests, are always busy passing business-killing licensing laws. A massage therapist in Pennsylvania sent me this case:

“States are enacting massage laws which require people who have been making a living as massage therapist for years to go to massage schools and pay in excess of 10K for unnecessary training. This in spite of the fact that there are no cases showing public harm as a result of people performing massage that have not [gone] to school... The schools who benefit from these laws of course contributed millions to enact these bits of legislation. I would love for you to consider doing a story on this mess as one of your Gimmie A break segments.

I am in PA and will be out of business in two years unless my wife and I and find a way to pay over 20K to the school and find the time to attend classes while we care for our 4 kids.”

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