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Is your barber dangerous??

May 11, 2012

Is your barber dangerous??

Dick Carpenter and Lisa Knepper of the Institute for Justice recently published a study of the burdens of occupational licensing and the extent to which they prevent people (who are mostly poorer and lack college degrees) from entering professions that should be fairly easy to enter if it were not for the demands of governmental licensing. Unfortunately, our “conservative” “free enterprise” state of Arizona ranks as the worst among all 50 states……yes, the worst. A May 11th Wall Street Journal article says that “Arizona imposes the heaviest combination of the number of licensed occupations (64) and the regulatory burdens (in time and money) required to secure them.”

This must change. In addition to Arizona being a supposedly conservative state, we hear lately (ad nauseum) about the problem that we have way too many right wing Republicans (who are usually thought to be believers in less business regulation). That description obviously does not apply in this case. As a lifelong Republican and a former lobbyist I can testify to the fact that this subject of occupational licensing is frequently raised by a small minority but has never been acted on, in spite of the plethora of these pro business legislators.

The last serious attempt to deregulate was about 30 years ago when Arizona Representative Jim Skelly held hearings on a bill that would have deregulated barbers and cosmetologists. For those who still believe that these laws really exist to protect the public (no thinking person does), you would expect to find these hearings filled with members of the public demanding to be protected from errant and dangerous barbers and cosmetologists. But (most of you will not be surprised to learn), the hearing rooms were, instead, packed to overflowing with barbers and cosmetologists demanding to be regulated. This, of course, proves the point that these occupational licenses really exist to protect the regulated professions from competition.

Can’t we end this charade in Arizona??Image

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