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Occupational licensing a noble-sounding scheme that limits competition

Occupational licensing a noble-sounding scheme that limits competition

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
July 4, 2014

The goal of Idaho’s Bureau of Occupational Licenses is “to help safeguard human health and property, and to promote the public welfare.” Who can be against that?

It’s actually a lot of smoke and mirrors. One such outcome of such regulations is to limit the number of workers and protect those in the respective industries from increased competition.

Think about it: In order to get the license, one has to study for an extensive period of time and pass costly exams. The board supervising the licenses is made up of workers from the profession whose interest is to limit the number of workers and, by extension, likely keep prices high by limiting competition.
Why else would Idaho require barbers to be licensed? Cosmetologists? Landscape architects?

Are government officials afraid that unlicensed barbers will use sulfuric acid? Do unregulated cosmetologists use sandpaper? Would landscapers design their work like a Dali painting without government approval?

Don’t be fooled by the “public welfare” nonsense. Occupational licensing has almost everything to do with protecting special interests. By abolishing occupational licensing or at least limiting its reach, more competition will exist and therefore more innovation and lower prices.

In other words, ignore the siren calls supporting licenses. They usually come from people who have something to lose without their government-sponsored cartel.

Idaho Freedom Foundation
802 W. Bannock Street, Suite 405, Boise, Idaho 83702
p 208.258.2280 | e [email protected]
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