Getting the Government’s Permission to Work

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

The Institute for Justice has published an important new study on the economic impact of licensing laws.

As a new report issued today by the Institute for Justice discusses, more and more Americans now need the government’s permission before they can pursue the occupation of their choice. The IJ report, “License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing,” shows that for lower-income Americans, these government-imposed “occupational licensing” hurdles are not only widespread, but often unreasonably high. License to Work details licensing requirements for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations in all 50 states and D.C. It is the first national study of licensing to focus on lower-income occupations and to measure the burdens licensing imposes on aspiring workers . . .

All of the 102 occupations studied in License to Work are licensed in at least one state. On average, these government-mandated licenses force aspiring workers to spend nine months in education or training, pass one exam and pay more than $200 in fees. One third of the licenses take more than one year to earn. At least one exam is required for 79 of the occupations.

“These licensing laws force people to spend a lot of time and effort earning a license instead of earning a living,” said Dr. Dick Carpenter, director of strategic research at the Institute for Justice and report co-author. “They make it harder for people to find jobs and to build new businesses that create jobs.”

Data show that those practicing the 102 occupations studied are not only more likely to be low-income, but also to be minority and to have less education, likely making licensing hurdles even harder to overcome. In addition, about half the 102 occupations offer the possibility of entrepreneurship, suggesting these laws affect both job attainment and creation.

Licensing requirements are usually justified under concerns for public safety. But that’s usually just a canard.

 . . . research to date provides little evidence that licensing protects public health and safety or improves products and services. Instead, it increases consumer costs and reduces opportunities for workers.

License to Work provides additional reasons to doubt that many licensing regimes are needed. First, most of the 102 occupations are practiced somewhere without government permission and apparently without widespread harm: Only 15 are licensed in 40 states or more, and on average, the 102 occupations are licensed in just 22 states—fewer than half. This includes a number of occupations with no self-evident rationale for licensure, such as shampooer, florist, home entertainment installer and funeral attendant.

Second, licensure burdens often vary considerably across states, calling into question the need for severe burdens. For instance, although 10 states require four months or more of training for manicurists, Alaska demands only about three days and Iowa about nine days. Such disparities are prevalent throughout the occupations studied.

Finally, the difficulty of entering an occupation often has little to do with the health or safety risk it poses. Of the 102 occupations studied, the most difficult to enter is interior designer, a harmless occupation licensed in only three states and D.C. By contrast, EMTs hold lives in their hands, yet 66 other occupations face greater average licensure burdens, including barbers and cosmetologists, manicurists and a host of contractor designations.

Idea for some econ grad student: Do a study to determine the number of jobs the Institute for Justice has created over the years by suing, usually successfully, to overturn this protectionist nonsense.

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88 Responses to “Getting the Government’s Permission to Work”

  1. #1 |  Difster | 

    No occupation should require a government license at all. Not doctors, not laywers; NOTHING. Let private institutions compete for issuing credentials.

  2. #2 |  CyniCAl | 

    The State = stationary banditry

    Next.

  3. #3 |  Other Sean | 

    Everyone here has seen how well occupational licensing works to give us only the best, most professional police officers.

    So why do I feel certain that someone is about to explain why “it’s different” when you’re talking about doctors, teachers, and airline pilots, etc. And why am I cringing as I wait for it?

  4. #4 |  Personanongrata | 

    Getting the Government’s Permission to Work

    Shakedown from the government flim-flam-man.

    Licensing requirements are usually justified under concerns for public safety.

    Yes, it is all about our “safety”, although we best not say public safety aloud as it may be used as a pretex for the state to send in their nail hammering SWAT operators.

  5. #5 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Obviously, we need to close the EMT loophole. Those assholes are getting off way too easy.

  6. #6 |  Fred Mangels | 

    The sad thing about this is that proponents of such licensing laws, when confronted about the inequity of requirements in different states, will probably just say we need all states to adopt the tougher standards.

    Kind of like Rush Limbaugh did when commenting on the disparities in sentencing laws between crack and cocaine(?). His response: Just raise the penalty for cocaine so they’re equal.

  7. #7 |  Ron | 

    “First, most of the 102 occupations are practiced somewhere without government permission and apparently without widespread harm”

    Apparently? Did the study look at that or not? Did they compare whether there are more injuries related to a particular service provider in states that do NOT require licenses for that occupation? If not, I don’t see how Mr. Balko can say the safety rationale is a “canard.”

    It doesn’t sound like the authors engaged in rigorous analysis. More like bias confirmation and preaching to the choir. I’ve come to expect better from this website.

  8. #8 |  MH | 

    And yet any jackass can be a politician.

  9. #9 |  EH | 

    MH: The corollary to that is that the licensed vocations discussed here are all things over which politicians interact with the rabble. Everybody needs haircuts, but the Mayor needs to be able to punish a bad haircut by taking away their license. There’s no special certification for being a hedge-fund worker, notice.

  10. #10 |  Piper | 

    #3 can’t speak to all of those, but I will speak to my profession, Teacher. Leaving aside NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and other Federal Regulations, there are, IMO, 3 reasons licensing a teacher.
    1. Providing revenue to the state.
    2. Ensuring Colleges of Education continue to exist.
    3. Providing CYA, lawsuit protection for the state, school boards and other bodies that oversee education.
    I can see a job requirement for a school district including an internship (student teaching) and certain educational requirements, as this would allow flexibility and market forces to directly affect the quality of teachers. A professional association could also provide certification for teachers like the ISA does for appraisers. This is voluntary and could take over many of the benefits that unions provide: insurance, legal aid, professional development and even some lobbying for pay and work conditions.

  11. #11 |  Phssthpok | 

    IMHO all this talk of licensing hurdles is a red herring for the real ‘permission slip’ that .Gov imposes.

    Try getting ANY job (even flipping burgers) without a SSN. That’s right… you need PERMISSION from .Gov to engage in any gainful endeavor AT ALL. Because if you DON’T get and/or provide your (State Slave Number) you are engaging in a Malum Prohibitum criminal act (according to .Gov that is).

  12. #12 |  J-Man | 

    “Data show that those practicing the 102 occupations studied are not only more likely to be low-income, but also to be minority and to have less education, likely making licensing hurdles even harder to overcome.”

    Of course!

    The accompanying interactive map of the country (as linked to on the report’s source page) shows occupational licensing more predominant in Blue states. Obvious, yes, but it truly begs me to ask the question: “Why do my fellow ‘minority’ voters continue to support those who legally block them from the workforce and from becoming small business owners?”

    I have aunts and cousins who braid hair for money. One cousin even wanted to open up a salon, but saw the barriers and ended up finishing school and getting a desk job (not necessarily a negative, but not what she wanted to do.) Since in their mind voting GOP is just evil (I almost agree) and voting for any third party is a wasted vote, nothing will change.

  13. #13 |  J-Man | 

    @ #10 Phssthpok

    Good point. “State Slave Number.” I gotta remember that one.

  14. #14 |  Onlooker | 

    THIS is the over-regulation that our politicians need to talk about as strangling our economy. Instead all we hear about is the banking/finance sector, which may be over-regulated, but more likely just mis-regulated.

    It’s sooo easy to make your case for deregulation by talking about the kinds of crap illustrated in this post. This is the kind of B.S. that creates the dysfunction in Greece, Italy, etc.

  15. #15 |  Lint | 

    I’m an econ grad student. Thanks for the idea.

  16. #16 |  Radley Balko | 

    It doesn’t sound like the authors engaged in rigorous analysis. More like bias confirmation and preaching to the choir. I’ve come to expect better from this website.

    Did you read the actual study?

  17. #17 |  Brandon | 

    #9: “2. Ensuring Colleges of Education continue to exist.”

    I notice you didn’t say “good” reasons.

  18. #18 |  Brandon | 

    #7, you’re asking them to prove a negative, then accusing them of being disingenuous. Nice.

  19. #19 |  Piper | 

    @Brandon, you are correct, I am not a fan, even after getting another MA, this one in Ed. Leadership, from a GOOD Ed college.

  20. #20 |  Other Sean | 

    Ron #7,

    If you were the author of that study, how would YOU go about comparing the number of accidents caused by unsafe floral arrangements in Louisiana against those in South Dakota?

  21. #21 |  Ron | 

    #16 Radley — I did not read the actual study, just the posting on your website (which quotes from the article about the study).

    In my comment, I was asking if the study had any actual data to support the conclusion that “most of the 102 occupations are practiced somewhere without government permission and apparently without widespread harm.” If they’re just saying something like, “In Oregon, exterminators don’t need licenses and we haven’t read anything about mass poisonings by exterminators in Oregon so therefore the safety rationale is bunk” I wouldn’t call that rigorous analysis.

    Again, I don’t know if the study authors did this or not (I was asking that quesiton in my comment). But if you didn’t read the study yourself, or you DID read they study and it doesn’t include any actual data to support your conclusion that the safety rationale is a “canard,” then I think it was irresponsible to post the article to your site with such a positive gloss on the study. Based on my reading of your prior work, I think you’re better than that.

  22. #22 |  StrangeOne | 

    I thought about becoming a taxi driver using my own car once. I was young and naively believed that it would require some basic paperwork a paltry fee for a license and then I could get bonded and insured and be set to go. Nope.

    At the time my city required a nine week course to become a taxi driver. It was only taught twice a year, and you had to be admitted to the course by a blind lottery, so as to “fairly” limit the number of licenses given out. I quickly realized what an obvious scam the whole thing was. My friends were surprised to find out that such a system even existed, and quickly realized that it was why taxi’s were virtually non-existent in our city and generally of a terrible quality.

    That’s the real insidiousness of these kinds of license laws. For the general public they are unknown unknowns, most people wouldn’t even think you need a license to do half of them. Unless they really dig into it they never find out why their city has shitty taxi service, or no food trucks, or dozens of other goods and services that cost way too much or practically don’t exist. They don’t realize that the government has killed these opportunities, and they don’t recognize the government as the problem because they don’t miss what they don’t have.

  23. #23 |  yonemoto | 

    Radley #16

    You do have to give the commenter the “preaching to the choir” bit. I don’t think any regulon will read the study.

  24. #24 |  StrangeOne | 

    Really Ron,

    You didn’t bother to read the article or study yourself, but you’re going to hold it against someone else for not reading the study and spoon-feeding you the results? All over a choice of wording? Did it occur to you that maybe they used the word “apparently” because when only three states bother to license a profession it becomes impossible to gather reliable data on the other 47? Considering what some of these professions are, is “harm done” even applicable? When was the last time you heard of a rogue unlicensed interior decorator causing significant harm to persons or property? How do you expect anyone to reasonably gather that data?

    All of the questions above are rhetorical. Anyone who spent more than a minute thinking about the problem would have reached the same conclusion; that data simply doesn’t exist for most of these professions. Without significant evidence to the contrary it isn’t apparent that these unlicensed professions are doing any real harm. You skipped over that line of thought and went straight into concern-troll mode.

  25. #25 |  clarkcountycriminalcops | 

    Here in Clark County Nevada, many jobs still require a “Sheriff’s Card.” Even if your employer is fully aware of your background and wants to hire your, a civil servant can deny you the ability to take the job.

  26. #26 |  Omri | 

    The entertainment installer license is not entirely frivolous, since nowdays that means mounting a moderately heavy flat screen TV on a wall. It’s not a license for hooking audio cables from your home theater to your bitchin’ ass speakers.

  27. #27 |  sigh | 

    Mounting a TV on a wall? Obviously rocket science that requires government intervention. Without big brother overseeing the process, clearly the very fabric of society will unravel.

    Maybe the problem here is that people are increasingly incompetent, and thus view basic tasks as some sort of black magic.

    One of the really insidious things about license requirements is the way that they reduce your geographic mobility; moving costs enough as it is, I don’t need another $200-$1000 bill (and weeks or months of paperwork) on top of that before I can work again.

    A state I moved to a couple of years ago demanded that you be hired before they let you start the ~90 day paperwork process of issuing a license — yeah, good luck finding someone willing to stick you on the payroll doing nothing for 3 months.

    This is quite literally why we cannot have nice things.

  28. #28 |  Brandon | 

    #23, not unless they are supervised by a licensed study reader.

  29. #29 |  UCrawford | 

    @Radley…when you say that licensing laws are often “justified” by public safety, I think “rationalized” probably fits better.

  30. #30 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @1 – And of course it won’t impact insurance for doctors at all. No.

    @11 – Unions shouldn’t be involved in certification in the first place. That’s what professional bodies are for. On the other hand, professional bodies have a duty NOT to act as advocates, and are completely unsuitable as a replacement for a union.

  31. #31 |  Leland D. Davis | 

    I am training to be a health physicist. We are expected to get a degree in the field, and then pass the CHP exam after working for a period of time. None of this is required by the government – nobody in the industry will want to hire you without the credentials, which are administered by professional societies.
    I rub shoulders alot with people training in fundamental physics – scientific disciplines, in general, don’t require licensure from the government. But employers expect a graduate degree.
    I also spend alot of time with engineers. States are hit-or-miss on whether licensure is required for engineers, with it most commonly being required for civil/structural engineers. Even when it is required, it is mostly imposed by the employers – they won’t hire you without that degree.
    My wife works in IT, as does my brother. My brother, in addition to his computer science doctorate, has multiple industry certifications – I think over half a dozen at last count. My wife, not so impressive. She only has several. These certifications are from industry, and not from the government.
    Somehow, the sky isn’t falling because the government isn’t directly involved.

  32. #32 |  Rich | 

    Most reasonable people see a need for a middle ground. There is no need to license interior decorators or hair stylists etc etc. How much burnt polyester are you willing to have the burn unit scrape off your skin because the Electrician your neighbor hired did not know what he was doing. Some things you only get one chance for. Taking anything too far is crazy in either direction. Some things do need regulation because not doing it effects other peoples right to life and property.

  33. #33 |  FSK | 

    Actually, you need to get the government’s permission to work, no matter what job you have, due to the income tax.

  34. #34 |  André | 

    Radley,

    This may interest you:

    “German Police Used Only 85 Bullets Against People in 2011″

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/05/german-police-used-only-85-bullets-against-people-2011/52162/

    For a country with 80 million residents, that’s a pretty good ratio. That’s also only about two Amadou Diallos.

  35. #35 |  Andrew Roth | 

    The Institute for Justice and the ACLU are probably the two most reputable and important public interest law firms in the US. They really complement each other, with the ACLU litigating to enforce equal protection on what might broadly be called social matters and IJ doing so on economic matters.

    Of these two, only the ACLU has really been smeared publicly. My hypothesis, which I’ve pretty much stolen from Fabius Maximus because his arguments ring true, is that this is because the right-wing smear machine is well-organized while its left-wing counterparts are in disarray. Organizing the right is like issuing military orders. Organizing the left is like herding cats.

    It would be great if more libertarians learned from IJ. As it is, libertarian rhetoric and activism seems to mostly be shrill cries of “no true Scotsman,” disingenuous corporate shilling, and banging on about hobbyhorses. Regardless of all the other nonsense, IJ at least gives me some hope that libertarians will be able to take part in the serious reforms that this country needs instead of just clowning around on the sidelines.

  36. #36 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Ah, but you fail to note the appalling number of finger and hand amputations made necessary by the mistakes of those poorly-trained manicurists in Alaska!

    Seriously, with so little government oversight, all those poor Alaskans must be constantly suffering from bleeding, infected hangnails, right? I mean, gangrene must be a massive public health concern in that state!

    I guess you’re all just anti-government racists.

  37. #37 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Ah, but you fail to note the appalling number of finger and hand amputations made necessary by the mistakes of those poorly-trained manicurists in Alaska!

    Seriously, with so little government oversight, all those poor Alaskans must be constantly suffering from bleeding, infected hangnails, right? I mean, gangrene must be a massive public health concern in that state!

    I guess you’re all just anti-government racists.

  38. #38 |  John C. Randolph | 

    the right-wing smear machine is well-organized while its left-wing counterparts are in disarray.

    I must agree, the NYT and NBC news are certainly not as organized as they once were. I would guess it’s because anyone with a brain is fleeing the legacy media to seek more profitable endeavors.

    -jcr

  39. #39 |  John C. Randolph | 

    #10 Piper,

    I would say that the principal reason for licensing teachers is to keep retirees from other professions from becoming teachers. My father was a diplomat, and he would be an excellent history, english, geography, German or Chinese teacher, but the licensing requirements for him to volunteer his time to the benefit of high school kids in his town make it more trouble than it’s worth unless he wanted to do it for 20 years and gain a second pension.

  40. #40 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    I think it’s because the IJ isn’t well known yet.

  41. #41 |  Omri | 

    “Mounting a TV on a wall? Obviously rocket science that requires government intervention. Without big brother overseeing the process, clearly the very fabric of society will unravel.

    Plumbing isn’t rocket science either. Nor is electrician’s work. Those are licensed too. For the same reason. Not a libertarian policy, but not a frivolous one either.

  42. #42 |  Anonymous | 

    [...] over the years by suing, usually successfully, to overturn this protectionist nonsense. Getting the Government’s Permission to Work | The Agitator But but but the illegals can work with [...]

  43. #43 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #29 UCrawford

    @Radley…when you say that licensing laws are often “justified” by public safety, I think “rationalized” probably fits better.

    Yes.

  44. #44 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Just to add to the general argument; the policing of doctors is largely done by organizations of doctors, and frankly they don’t do it well. My wife has a lot of health problems. On multiple occasions I have been faced with the fact that unless you can prove that a doctor is so dangerous to his patients that he will sooner or later be an embarrassment to his fellows, you can’t get the doctors to punish doctors.

    Specific case; A surgeon who prescribed an after surgery painkiller that was noted ON MY WIFE’S CHART as being dangerous to the patient. I didn’t want his license. I didn’t want umpteen million dollars. My Lady’s stepmother caught it. But reporting the doctor resulted in stony silence. If he had lost surgical privileges at that hospital for, say, three months (or if they had send two burly interns to hold his arms while I kicked him in the fork) I would have been satisfied.

    Doctors do not get disciplined until they have done serious harm. Which is bullsh*t.

    Not that I have an answer, other than to suggest that some sort of rating system of medial boards be set up …. and that all of them START with an F rating.

  45. #45 |  Southern Man | 

    Most people don’t know that these licensing requirements aren’t written by legislators; they’re written by lobbiests, and the purpose is to protect their industries from outside competition or to enhance revenue. Want that cosmetology license? Those regs are written by a powerful school lobby hungry for students with guaranteed student loans. Ditto for most of the others. As Rush says, just follow the money. In my part of the USA it’s big-farm lobbies who propose (and largely write) legislation with names like “Small Farm Food Safety Act” whose sole purpose is to stifle competition from those pesky small farms. We’ll have this problem as long as special interests are allowed to write the law.

  46. #46 |  KT | 

    The first time I received a license as a building contractor, I was surprised to find there was no competency examination. When I received my license, I understood the process. I was given a auto window sticker that read ” Occupation Tax, St. Charles, 1980″. Like most laws, the deal was about the jack, not the consumer.

  47. #47 |  Brandon | 

    #31: “Most reasonable people see a need for a middle ground…How much burnt polyester are you willing to have the burn unit scrape off your skin because the Electrician your neighbor hired did not know what he was doing. Some things you only get one chance for. Taking anything too far is crazy in either direction.”

    Ah, fear-mongering combined with blind compromising! An interesting tactic. Of course, if there are two extremes, just take the middle ground and call yourself reasonable, thereby implying that anyone who disagrees is unreasonable! What a wonderful way to make yourself feel smart without actually having to think!

    Of course, city or state licensing wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if it were just a matter of a test of competence, with no limits placed on the number of people who could be licensed or specific educational requirements (AKA handouts to those already established in the industry). But it never works that way. Mission creep sets in, and suddenly people need 1000 hours of training in order to apply for a limited number of licenses to cut hair, limiting supply and increasing prices for everyone, diverting money that could be put to other productive uses.

    Now, since your first thought was to resort to the standard liberal boilerplate of “OMG FIRE THINK OF THE CHILDRENS!!!!!” I assume you won’t be reading this, or you’ve already dismissed it for daring to disagree with someone so *Reasonable* as yourself, but since your scenario seems to assume an apartment or townhome, why do you dismiss the concept of community property agreements, which every single community in the country with shared property has, and which all specify, at minimum, that any electrical, plumbing or structural work must comply with city or state building codes at the very least? Do you honestly think that no one except you and the government has considered that poorly done electrical work might be unsafe? If you are in a position where your neighbor’s decisions could impact the safety of your home, the free market already has that covered. Government restrictions, beyond simple, unlimited licensing, serve only as a form of economic protectionism for those who are already established. Funny how that seems to work at every level of government, isn’t it? Almost like power and money go together or something.

  48. #48 |  Brandon | 

    #42, but if you give dietary advice on a blog without being a licensed doctor or dietician, the government will destroy you.

  49. #49 |  Brandon | 

    #40, Did you realize that your remark about needing a license to hang a TV on a wall was stupid? Is that why you switched to plumbing and electrical?

  50. #50 |  Enyap | 

    Omri, I helped a friend mount a tv awhile ago. It was amazingly light for it’s size and we were far more concerned with damaging it, or surrounding objects than any bodily harm. Somehow I was able to make it through that whole process without ever entertaining the thought that what I was doing was some hazardous activity that should be regulated by the state .

  51. #51 |  Pablo | 

    Check this out–more follies from DeKalb County, GA

    http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/3-dekalb-cops-indicted-1435205.html

    Money quotes from one of the victims:
    “The police department is really just like another gang.”
    “That’s why we run when we see them. We don’t run because we did something wrong. We run because they’re going to beat us or they could shoot us.”

  52. #52 |  sigh | 

    “Plumbing isn’t rocket science either. Nor is electrician’s work. Those are licensed too. For the same reason. Not a libertarian policy, but not a frivolous one either.”

    Apples to oranges. Improper plumbing and electrical connections will very easily kill or injure people – sometimes even in large numbers.

  53. #53 |  Comrade Dread | 

    Licenses should be free to anyone who demonstrates the requirements to have the license.

    I am sympathetic to the idea that trade associations and their credentials/licenses could replace government licensing for most professions, but I’m dubious as to whether or not they would be more effective and whether or not it would make the process of hiring a service provider more difficult as you could have multiple trade groups in the same industry with varying requirements for their credential as well as some fraudulent fly by night ones that will sell their credential to anyone with $50 and then disappear and reappear under a new name once the old association name gets a bad rap.

  54. #54 |  croaker | 

    @8 both Jackass and Politician are occupations protected by the 1st Amendment.

  55. #55 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “By contrast, EMTs hold lives in their hands, yet 66 other occupations face greater average licensure burdens, including barbers and cosmetologists, manicurists and a host of contractor designations.”

    This is really quite shocking. I am preparing to begin EMT training this summer. Not coincidentally, my interest in EMS increased as my interest in LEO careers plummeted. I am fine with the amount of training involved in progressing from EMT to Paramedic (between lecture, clinicals and field time, this will generally take you a couple years). I am sure it is quite necessary. And it is interesting to note that many states accept the National Association of EMT’s certification (this is a private professional organization) when they license EMT’s/Medics. But no such luck for barbers, cosmetologists, etc. What a sham!

  56. #56 |  claude | 

    No need to read the study. Its part of the Koch echo chamber.

    Institute for Justice = Koch funded. Any study from them is good for replacement toilet paper in a pinch. Nothing more.

  57. #57 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ claude,

    You’re an infant.

  58. #58 |  Pi Guy | 

    Plumbing isn’t rocket science either. Nor is electrician’s work.

    Which is why I do all of my own plumbing and electrical. Do you have any idea how much it would’ve cost to pay someone else to do my basement bathroom? It took longer than an expert but save probably thousands of dollars.

    I don’t need to pay them for their licensure. I want to pay them to do work that I can’t or don’t want to do. I can do these things and, therefore, have no need for the government to oversee me.

    Think of it like this: just about every teacher that you’ve ever had was likely licensed by that state to teach. Every one was “certified”. Were all of your teachers good? No! Some were downright awful and, short of being able to land a job as US Gov Teacher/Track Coach, they would have absolutely no value in society (that point is debatable even now). Did certifying teachers guarantee a good education? Not at all. Suppose some 50-ish engineer with 20+ yrs experience decides he’s had enough of the corporate world, has saved up enough to take a teaching job (which, let’s not pretend is some sort of low-paying job…), and wants to teach, say, high school algebra.

    This person has likely forgotten more about algebra than the average HS math teacher’s ever known – and will actually have the answer to “When am I ever going to need to know this?” – but will nost likely withdraw any real good they can offer because it’s not worth it.

    If a person’s ability isn’t enough to hire them than why bother interviewing in the first place? Just throw all the wannabes’ names into a hat and draw out the winners. I mean, every plumber’s just as good as any other – as long as the state says so.

  59. #59 |  Brandon | 

    Hey Claude, Balko works for Huffington Post. Is he part of the Koch echo chamber too? Or are you just pouting because no one will take the time to read the study to you?

  60. #60 |  Real Liberty Media News - 2012-05-11 | Real Liberty Media | 

    [...] Call Cops On Man Recording Them | PixiqAmericans stashing cash at home as mistrust of banks spreadsGetting the Government’s Permission to Work | The AgitatorAmericans overwhelmingly favor big defense cuts – EconomyShould The Ron Paul Blimp Fly At The [...]

  61. #61 |  BamBam | 

    Permanently blinded for contempt of cop
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/111889.html

  62. #62 |  Tu Wog | 

    Can you say…CONTROL?

    NOTHING these ^%#$!^*^$ (fill in your own explative)
    conceive surprises me.

  63. #63 |  nigmalg | 

    @André

    Almost any comparison of crime rates between the US and European countries is unfair. While I would agree that a lot of the extra violence in our country is due to the militarization and aggression of our police, it isn’t the whole story.

    Our crime rates are a representation of our economic and cultural makeup. No matter how much we diffuse the unjustifiable aggression in our police force, someone attacking them with a deadly weapon will need an effective rebuttal.

    Germany seems to have different problems to deal with.

  64. #64 |  Leland D. Davis | 

    Since people have said that plumbing isn’t rocket science, that hanging entertainment systems isn’t rocket science, is there anybody here that thinks that working as a rocket designer/scientist should require a license from the government?

  65. #65 |  cks | 

    One other occupation that’s getting screwed by the government..specifically by the Coast Guard is merchant mariners. If your yearly required physical shows ANYTHING, you are screwed. The USCG won’t renew your document and you aren’t able to work. Things like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and apparently soon the old BMI (body mass index) will be reason to refuse a mariner his/her document. This is also done under the guise of safety, but the real effect is to purge the ranks of older, more experienced mariners who tend to be fatter and more prone to health issues. My personal feeling is that there are a lot of bureaucratic wankers sitting at desks dreaming up ways to fuck with people who do actual work.

  66. #66 |  Anonymous | 

    [...] get government out of this business one of these days, but I'm not going to hold my breath on it. Getting the Government’s Permission to Work | The Agitator [...]

  67. #67 |  croaker | 

    @55 Hey Pi Guy. You described my father exactly. BSEE, took early retirement from the power company. Mother was an Assistant Professor of Nursing at a nearby Nun-run college, so he could get his teaching certificate for the price of books. Stayed in the game long enough to be vested in a second retirement, now he subs. And he’ll be 72 this year.

  68. #68 |  Bob | 

    In the part of the country I live, (Rural Missouri) there is no building code enforcement. If you want to build something, have fun! The only rule is “At least 3 acres per house, each house must have it’s own well and septic”.

    Houses that ARE “built to code” are obvious, they have that “built to code” look. Anyone with even the slightest competency can spot them immediately. As such, the “Oh noes! the resale value!” argument is out the window. What about safety issues? Nope. Not a problem. It’s actually difficult to build something out of modern parts so badly as to make it patently unsafe, the safety is built right in. Some issues do occur… one guy I know had grounding problems in his house… got it fixed. No one was in any danger.

    But is there widespread safety problems, with frequent injuries or deaths? Nope. It just doesn’t happen. People’s houses don’t just fall down at random, people aren’t electrocuted on a frequent basis. None of that.

    But what about incompetent / crooked tradespeople? People just ask around, and get the names of people that do a good job. It’s easy. If you’re new and not a complete asshole, just do a good job for a few people and word of mouth will get around.

    That said, I think “Building to code” is a great idea, and it’s part of the Government’s job to establish and publish these codes. But that’s it, enforcement should be the job of individuals. For example: Electrical wiring. Oh Noes! It’s in the walls! Can’t inspect it! Sure you can. Just take the cover off the Load Center. Is the load center built to code, I.E. not some cheap knockoff? Is it wired with modern, properly color coded wires of the correct gauge? It takes 10 minutes to inspect this. It’s really pretty simple.

    Ok… What if some shady contractor cuts costs by using a salvaged Breaker Box from the 30’s and wires your house with surplus aluminum wire from the 70’s? Just check the work, or have your more competent friends check it. It’s not rocket science.

    And that’s the “Dangerous shit”. How the hell can anyone justify licensing requirements for Interior Decorators, etc?

  69. #69 |  No Job Without Government’s Permission to Work | 

    [...] [...]

  70. #70 |  Gimmel Yod | 

    They forgot: Feng shui. Heaven only knows what will happen if THAT remains an unregulated activity for much longer!

  71. #71 |  Pi Guy | 

    @67 croaker:

    I believe that _all_ teachers – and, perhaps I’m biased but, epecially in STEM fields – should all have been preapared in this way.

    Unfortunately, the goal of the education system is not to educate but, rather, to graduate. Just like with licensing. If you’ve got a HS diploma, you must be good enough. Or something.

  72. #72 |  Pi Guy | 

    …is there anybody here that thinks that working as a rocket designer/scientist should require a license from the government?

    No, I do not.

    Quetion back to you: do you believe that all it would’ve taken to prevent the Challenger & Columbia catastrophes or the Apollo 1 pad fire is that all those physicists and engineers on the job had been sanctioned by the state to do rocket science? Again, no. See my comment at $58 re: teachers.

    Ever been in a disgusting bathroom in a resturant that you know has been sanctioned by the Health Dept as safe? In that case, I imagine market force – if people really care about sanitation – word will get out and people will simply stop eating there.

  73. #73 |  A Critic | 

    #32 “How much burnt polyester are you willing to have the burn unit scrape off your skin because the Electrician your neighbor hired did not know what he was doing. Some things you only get one chance for. Taking anything too far is crazy in either direction. Some things do need regulation because not doing it effects other peoples right to life and property.”

    My brother works for the best electrician outfit in the area. He reports what I expected. They are all drunks, many if not all are drunk on the job. Most are incompetent to some degree. One who is competent does the worst work. As a rule everything passes inspection, except for things that don’t matter sometimes fail inspection. The fire stations, police stations, and homes of inspectors and their cronies are all except from all codes and often have very dangerous installations.

    And again – this is the best in the area, one of the best in the state. The same goes for every other state regulated industry – the best are content to stop at mediocrity because there is no need to be any better.

  74. #74 |  EBL | 

    The Government is like your mother, it knows what is best for you…

  75. #75 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @47 – “If you are in a position where your neighbor’s decisions could impact the safety of your home, the free market already has that covered.”

    Yes, it would. Only the rich would be able to afford insurance, you’re fucked if it happens otherwise. You’re welcome, 99%!

  76. #76 |  Brandon | 

    Leon, are you an idiot? Do you really think that the insurance industry would survive only selling to the top 1%? Jesus Christ, this is the stupidest comment in a thread featuring some extremely stupid comment.

  77. #77 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @75 – No, you’re treating the insurance companies as idiots if you think that they can afford to insure houses in areas with unrelated wiring. It’s a huge fire hazard!

    Yes, your post really IS that stupid, so why did you make it?

  78. #78 |  Bob | 

    #74: Leon Wolfeson

    @47 – “If you are in a position where your neighbor’s decisions could impact the safety of your home, the free market already has that covered.”

    Yes, it would. Only the rich would be able to afford insurance, you’re fucked if it happens otherwise. You’re welcome, 99%!

    You mean like the area I live? With absolutely no inspections or licensing requirements at all? And yet, Insurance companies insure people just fine, and houses are safely occupied. Rest assured, not too many of those “1 percenters” live around here!

    Electrical wiring isn’t some “magic” that requires a rare, government sanctioned genius to perform. It’s simple enough that any person of average intelligence can do it easily and safely.

    Operating a Chain Saw is far more dangerous. Should I need a license to do that, too? I cut down a tree yesterday, Horrors! I didn’t have a permit, and the site wasn’t inspected by safety inspectors! I didn’t even file an Environmental Impact Report! There could have been rare bugs living in that tree! It could have been too close to a power line! How would I know any of these things? I don’t have a license!

    What about burning a pile of wood on my property? Oh Noes! I might start a Forest Fire, then those old guys in the Volunteer Fire Dept. will have to come out! I should need a comprehensive education, complete with Student Loans, and then a rigorous licensing process before I should be able to do that!

    Let’s make it nearly impossible for anyone to do anything. Then when a simple task needs to be done, we’ll all stand around like idiots because none of us are “licensed” to do it.

  79. #79 |  supercat | 

    #76 | Leon Wolfeson | “@75 – No, you’re treating the insurance companies as idiots if you think that they can afford to insure houses in areas with unrelated wiring. It’s a huge fire hazard!”

    Is there any reason insurance companies wouldn’t be able to have their own teams of inspectors? If you want to live in a house where the wiring consists of nothing but sections of 18ga zip cord that are twisted and taped together, fine, but don’t expect insurance companies to insure it.

  80. #80 |  supercat | 

    #67 | croaker | “Oh Noes! It’s in the walls! Can’t inspect it! Sure you can. Just take the cover off the Load Center. Is the load center built to code, I.E. not some cheap knockoff? Is it wired with modern, properly color coded wires of the correct gauge? It takes 10 minutes to inspect this. It’s really pretty simple.”

    One thing which would help, but I don’t think wire manufacturers do it, would be to have each foot of wire labeled with a unique sequential serial number, with large gaps incidating any manufactured cuts. If an outlet is supposed to be fed from a breaker with a straight 37′ run of cable, the numbers at the breaker and outlet should be consistent with that. Otherwise there’s no way of knowing whether someone spliced wires in the middle of a wall.

  81. #81 |  Bob | 

    #79: supercat,

    That was me at #68 that said “Oh Noes!…” not croaker.

    As to serial markings per foot, That’s an excellent idea! They already use digital printing in the manufacturing process. Adding the sequential number as part of that wouldn’t be too huge a burden.

    It’s true that there are some things you really can’t inspect for once the drywall goes up, and that’s one of them. But serious hazards like using 18 ga speaker wire would be easy to spot. (LOL! That made me laugh!) Can you imagine taking the cover off the Load Center and seeing it totally wired with 18 ga speaker wire? “I think I found the problem!”

  82. #82 |  Vic Kelley | 

    Good thread. Licensing requirements aren’t about public safety or even ensuring that workers are qualified. Instead, it’s all about controlling people and their opportunities.

    Hope this is an incentive for Americans to do all they can to avoid and evade their government at federal, state, and local levels.

  83. #83 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @78 – Sorry, reputable insurance companies, not the ones who’ll refuse to pay out and are essentially scams. I’m sure, as well, if you had a chainsaw injury you’d be VERY surprised when your insurer laughed at your claim.

    And there’s at least one 1%er or quisling, you.

    @79 – Because teams of inspectors are expensive, and you only need to find a single problem on any given block anyway. Insurance is a statistical industry. /Your/ house might be fine, but if one house a few doors along has dodgy wiring, you’re just as much a risk for insurance.

  84. #84 |  Bob | 

    Leon:

    Ooo! Burn! I had to look up “quisling” on the internet. Whatever… your sentence is so poorly structured and incomprehensible as to render it meaningless anyway.

  85. #85 |  EBL | 

    Very similar to the college debt bubble…it is about guilds, and protectionism, and layers of regulation…

  86. #86 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @84 – That’s right, I didn’t use your propaganda. Next, quisling.

  87. #87 |  Militant Libertarian » Getting the Government’s Permission to Work | 

    [...] Posted: May 21st, 2012 by Militant Libertarian from The Agitator [...]

  88. #88 |  FreeWestRadio.com » Blog Archive » Getting the Government’s Permission to Work | 

    [...] from The Agitator [...]

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