by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef focuses on the ills of occupational licensing restrictions in his latest Forbes column.
Millions of Americans are shut out of jobs they could do because of occupational licensing laws. They have the ability and desire, but can’t overcome the high cost of getting the governmental license that’s required before they can legally work in a job field.
Examples of this are legion. Here’s just one I came across recently in the state where I live, North Carolina. An immigrant, Jasna Bukvic-Bhayani is skilled in applying makeup, but she wants to open a school to teach others how to do that. When she announced in Facebook that she planned open a school for makeup artists, she was visited by the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners and informed that she could not legally operate such a school without a license.
As we read in this Carolina Journal story, the requirements for a state license were “A mandatory esthetics curriculum, buying up to $10,000 in non-makeup-related equipment, and teaching more than 500 hours of non-makeup instruction.” …
… That’s one case. How widespread is this problem of occupational licensing?
In a big report issued by the Institute for Justice in November, License to Work, we learn that it is enormous in scope and much worse in some states than in others. Roughly one out of every four jobs now requires a license, up from only one in twenty back in the 1950s. The growth in licensing does not stem from any increase in danger to the public, but instead from the desire of practitioners to make it difficult for new people to enter their field and of licensing providers to expand their authority.