by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
(A little snow-day headline humor. OK, granted, a very little.)
My newsletter today discusses the case against occupational licensing and the conclusions of two long-running disputes over actions by occupational licensing board in NC. A snippet:
This newsletter wrote last October of a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision over the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners actions excluding non-dentists from offering cosmetic teeth-whitening services. This week the justices announced their decision. Carolina Journal reports:
In a decision released Wednesday, a 6-3 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners violated federal antitrust laws by engaging in self-dealing in ordering service providers that do not have dental licenses to cease and desist from whitening teeth.
The ruling is hailed by some as a victory for free market enterprise, turning back regulatory overreach. …
Here is how the tooth-whitening exclusion benefited licensed dentists and harmed consumers and competition. Costs ranged from $400 to $1,300 at dentist offices, as opposed to $75 to $125 at day spas, mall kiosks, salons, etc.
Also, this month the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition adopted new guidelines that will allow people to give “ordinary diet advice without a government license.” The change puts an end to diet blogger Steve Cooksey’s free-speech lawsuit against the board, first reported by Carolina Journal in 2012.
The Cooksey case provided the background for my Carolina Cronyism report on occupational licensing …
Such anticompetitive overreach and protectionism — serving the interests of the licensees and not the general public — is commonplace. As the justices wrote, “Professional and occupational licensing requirements have often been used in such a way.”
The General Assembly could help consumers, excluded competitors, and the cause of freedom and job creation by (1) greatly reducing licensing boards and licensed job categories, (2) putting in sunset provisions with periodic review on the remaining boards, and (3) resisting the self-interested pleas from other industries for new occupational licenses.