Showing posts with label occupational licensure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label occupational licensure. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Occupational Licensing Hurts Minorities and the Poor

Sources: Tennessee Has Fined Residents Nearly $100,000, Just For Braiding Hair
Occupational Licensing and the Poor and Disadvantaged

Something as innocuous as hair braiding, an art that has been practiced for thousands of years and is deeply rooted in many African cultures, is illegal in twenty-five state’s if it’s done for pay without the government’s permission. Fatou Diouf, an immigrant from Senegal who braids hair for a living, a skill she learned as a child, found out the hard way when the state of Tennessee imposed $16,000 in fines against her for hiring employees who did not have the government’s permission to braid hair. And she’s not alone. The Tennessee board of cosmetology and barber examiners has levied $100,000 in fines against braiders in more than 30 different salons simply for practicing their art without paying the board for a license to do so.

After examining meeting minutes and disciplinary actions for the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners, the Institute for Justice has identified nearly $100,000 in fines levied against dozens of braiders and more than 30 different natural hair shops and salons since 2009. All of those violations were for unlicensed braiding; none were triggered by any health or sanitation violation.

Obtaining a license to braid hair in Tennessee is no easy feat. In fact, it’s unaffordable to some. To become a licensed “natural hair stylist” in Tennessee, braiders have to complete 300 hours of coursework in one of three Cosmetology schools within the state, which costs them $1,500 to $5,000 in tuition, just to learn a skill they already know and several other skills that aren’t relevant to their jobs.

Occupational licensing does not make hair braiding safer or improve the quality of the service. All it does is kill employment opportunities for black women and force some to work in the grey market. To demonstrate what’s possible without these needless market barriers, Mississippi was pressured to abandon a license requirement for hair braiding in 2016 after the Institute for Justice filed suit against the state. As of February, Tennessee only has 156 licensed braiders and natural hair stylists, though many more probably work without a license at home or in an established salon. In comparison, Mississippi has 2,600 legal braiders and only requires them to register with the department of health and pay a $25 administrative fee. The sheer absurdity of licensing hair braiders and the spotlight that has been shined on it has embarrassed state legislatures across the country into liberalizing the trade, but occupational licensing as a whole still maintains a firm stranglehold on economic growth in local economies, affecting one in three professions and more often than not keeping poor people and minorities out of decent paying jobs. The disparate effects of these market barriers can be seen in entry level occupations that provide some upward mobility. For instance, black or Hispanic non-white interior designers are 30% less likely to earn a college degree compared to white interior designers. Thus, states that require interior designers to have a college degree disproportionately exclude black and Hispanic designers. Similarly, licensing laws that require English proficiency and a minimum number of years of residency disproportionately exclude immigrants from legally working in their chosen career.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

People Are Arrested For Pot Even When It's Legal

Source: Fox News of all places

Even if you sell or consume cannabis in a state where it’s legal, and even if you jump the myriad of permit and licensing hurdles required to do so, you can still be arrested. Case in point, California Highway Patrol arrested two employees of Old Kai Distribution, a pot delivery company in Mendocino County. Now recreational pot has been legal in California since 2016 and the company in question has a license to legally transport cannabis within the county, but that didn’t prevent the state police thugs from kidnapping them, taking their van, and taking someone else’s pot. What’s their justification? The company didn’t follow a law that hasn’t taken effect yet. According to CHP commissioner Warren Stanley, the company didn’t also have a state license to legally transport cannabis, but the licenses won’t be issued and take effect until the first of next year. We live in a country where the government can not only apply laws selectively and retroactively, but they can also enforce laws that don’t exist yet. That is why I’m skeptical of the whole marijuana legalization movement; it will only work in countries with rule of law: countries that don’t enforce laws selectively and don’t enforce the capricious will of officials. The saddest part is that people’s businesses are ruined because of this. The family farm that grew this cannabis lost their entire harvest for the year, and the retail businesses that sell it lost the money they put towards purchasing it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Abolish Occupational Licensing

Source: The Atlantic, License To Work

EMTs hold lives in their hands, yet 73 other occupations have greater average licensure burdens: barbers and cosmetologists, home entertainment installers, interior designers, log scalers, manicurists and numerous contractor designations … while the average cosmetologist must complete 386 days of training, the average EMT must complete a mere 34. Even the average tree trimmer must complete more than 16 times the amount of education and experience.

In the USSA, there doesn't seem to be any gig that you can do without needing a team of bureaucrats to sign off on it, however trivial it may be in the grand scheme of 'public safety.' For instance, to install home entertainment systems in Connecticut you have to earn a high school diploma, pay a $185 application fee, pass a test, and work as an apprentice for one year. To legally sell flowers in Louisiana, one has to pay a $189 application fee and pass a florist exam. All 50 states require a license to become a barber. On average, a prospective barber must pay $154 in fees, sit out a year for education, and pass two exams just to legally cut other peoples' hair. Even something as mundane as cutting grass for pay, something teenagers often do for recreational spending, requires a business license in a growing number of cities. The absurdity of occupational licensing laws knows no bounds. As I have reported in previous Red Tape Times posts, people have been threatened with fines and sometimes prison for offering dietary advice without the government's permission, teaching makeup without the government's permission, critiquing traffic lights without the government's permission, playing music in a bar without the government's permission, selling teeth whitening products without the government's permission, and selling home cooked meals to neighbors without the government's permission (also here). At this point, a list of jobs you're allowed to do without the government's permission would be much shorter than a list of jobs you need their permission to do. State and local governments, in conjuction with industry licensing boards, are making an ever growing number of services illegal without a government shakedown. This creates barriers for innovation, growth, and self-employment opportunities for the working class Americans. A radical measure is needed to end this insanity: abolish occupational licensing, along with the state licensing boards that implement them and the industry lobbyists that control them. It won't be pretty, initially, but over time we will see how consumers can join together to regulate the quality of the services they're provide. The first conception may be rating systems specific to certain kinds of services, and this may evolve into private credentialing over time. Eliminating the rigid top down structure of licensing boards would open up multiple avenues for keeping proprietors honest and competent without creating burdensome hurdles for honest and competent people trying to become proprietors.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 38)

Licensed out: How Government licensing keeps Americans from working

Source: Pacific Legal Foundation

40 years ago only 5% of Americans needed a license to work in their field. Today a quarter of Americans need an occupational license to work. Occupational licensure isn't just required for prestigious jobs such as being a doctor or lawyer; it is now
mandatory for such innocuous jobs as braiding hair,
applying makeup, selling flowers , and even cutting grass
The growth of occupational licensure has cost consumers $203B in higher prices and the economy 2.9M fewer jobs.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 37)

North Carolina Prohibits Immigrant Woman From Teaching Makeup Without The Government's Permission

Source: Forbes

Jasna, a war refugee from the Balkans, became a licensed esthetician and began practicing makeup artistry, in North Carolina, in 2010. Last October, she attempted to start an academy to teach makeup techniques to other licensed estheticians and amateurs, but was prohibited from doing so by the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Arts Examiners Chief of Enforcement. After she announced the openning of the Dahlia Institute of Makeup Artistry on Facebook, the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Arts Examiners caught wind of it and threatened her with fines unless she obtained an esthetician teacher license. Obtaining an esthetician teacher license would require Jasna to buy $10,000 worth of equipment she wouldn't need such as a thermal wax system, a facial vaporizer, and a galvanic current apparatus. On top of the unnecessary capital expenditures, Jasna would also be required to teach the state's 600 hour esthetician curriculum, only a fraction of which addresses makeup. Of the 170 performances the state requires students to complete its esthetician curriculum, only 30 are related to makeup application. In other words, Jasna would have to teach other arts in an academy exclusively devoted to makeup. North Carolina is one of thirty-six states that require a license to apply makeup for pay. Most states require people to get three to nine months of education and experience, pass two exams, and pay an average of $116 in fees just to apply makeup for pay.

The Institute for Justice is contesting North Carolina's esthetician teacher licensing requirement on 1st amendment grounds, although this doesn't get to the heart of the matter. While the occupational licensing mandate for teaching makeup certainly stiffles free speech it imposes a much greater economic burden on women interested in cosmetics, especially lower class immigrant women. The opportunity and financial cost the state imposes on would be makeup artist is the most burdensome on this demographic who don't necessarily have the luxury of spending hundreds of hours on course work and thousands of dollars on education and licensing for something that could be learned for free on Youtube. Of course, the fact that occupational licensing tends to hurt the poor is not what makes it horrendous. The principle of the matter is that you shouldn't need the government's permission to make a living: to provide for your needs and the needs of others, especially doing something as mundane as teaching about makeup. The liberty to work, is the liberty to provide food, shelter, clothing, and savings for yourself, and perhaps some luxury items if you can afford them. To prohibit a person from working is to prevent them from meeting their basic needs and saving for future needs at gun point; in short, it is to rob them of their dignity and force them into a subordinate position.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 22)

Startups Flourish After Occupational Licensing Is Abolished 

Source: Institute for Justice

Minnesota recently lifted licensing and inspection restrictions on the cottage food industry; as a result there are now over 3,000 registered cottage food bakers within the state. The exemption allows entrepreneurs who otherwise could not afford the overhead cost of renting commercial space to start their own business. However there are caveats. The exemption only applies to the preparation of shelf stable food that doesn’t require refrigeration. Cottage industry bakers cannot exceed $18,000 in annual sales to consumers, so they can only be partially self-employed. They are also still required to pay a $50 registration fee and complete a 3 hour class on food safety.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 21)

A License To Cut Hair 

The asininity of occupational licensure may have reached its peak. In a contemptuous display of the lengths cartelized industries will go to inflate their profits, the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology opened an investigation against a Tucson cosmetology student for providing free haircuts to homeless people without a license. In Arizona, it is illegal for parents to cut their children's hair, to provide a free haircut to a homeless persons (who otherwise couldn't afford one) or to cut hair without a license outside of an approved barbershop or salon in general. Barbering and cosmetology licensing laws are defined so vaguely that just about anyone who 'cuts, clips and trims hair' or who 'applies oils and creams', even without compensation, is guilty of a class one misdemeanor. For his own charity, the aforementioned cosmetology student could be denied a career he has been trained years for and wind up on the street again.

This incident is only one of several in a growing trend of attacks on private charity by local governments. The federal government has failed in its capacity to eliminate poverty so it is only natural that the spontaneous sympathy of private citizens would step in to fill the void. Bottom - up solutions such as building small houses for the homeless and providing them with free meals has been stunted at the local level by anal retentive bureaucrats whose sole purpose in life is to enforce frivolous codes that don't add anything to human progress.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 19)

District Judge Upholds Teeth Whitening Monopoly in Georgia 

The U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia upheld a regulation requiring approval from the Dental Board (and formal training in Dental School) to sell teeth whitening products. Now she is probably correct in her opinion that it isn't unconstitutional to prohibit entrepreneurs from selling teeth whitening products; the constitution is after all not an exhaustive list of our natural rights. Therefore, it shouldn't be contested on constitutional grounds, which does very little to preserve economic freedom, but like all occupational licensure laws, it should be challenged on economic grounds in the Georgia General Assembly. IJ already found that occupational licensure cost consumers in Wisconsin $2B and 31,000 jobs annually, for low to moderate income earners, so if they are going to contest the Dental Board's licensing requirement for selling teeth whitening products, they should do so with research they've already done.

The regulation is so asinine that theoretically Walgreens could be shut down for selling teeth whitening products. In general, transactions between consenting adults should be left to the purview of consenting adults. The government's place is to step in when there is fraud or breach of contract, which in this woman's case she committed neither. She did not claim to be a licensed dentist. If consumers were willing to take the risk of buying her product that is their prerogative.