Posts Tagged ‘occupational licensure’

The political obstacles to occupational licensure reform

Libertarians and economists have applauded the Obama administration for calling attention lately to the high cost of legal exclusions on who can practice common jobs. “The share of the workforce that has a required state license — for everything from hearing aid dealers to funeral parlor owners — has grown from 5 percent in the 1950s to nearly 29 percent today, [said Jason Furman, chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers], sometimes with the effect of raising prices for consumers.” But in “taking on cosmetologists — and other licensed professions — the White House may have picked a fight it can’t win.” [Lydia DePillis, Washington Post]

Free speech roundup

  • Understanding the liberal-conservative gap on what “free expression” means [Ronald K. L. Collins]
  • Foes of Yik Yak “want universities to ban the very app that gives marginalized students a voice on campus” [Amanda Hess, earlier] No-platforming: “It is an anti-Enlightenment movement.” [Claire Lehmann on Germaine Greer case] At UCLA, administrators and activists are attacking the core right to free speech [Conor Friedersdorf]
  • “If you know what you’re doing, you bring in the litigators before you start running your mouth.” [Popehat on game developer’s lawsuit threats, language]
  • “Climate change, Galileo, and our modern Inquisition” [Edward Dougherty, Public Discourse/MercatorNet on climate RICO] “Veteran campaigner Bill McKibben and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders demand the Obama administration launch a criminal investigation [over Exxon’s allegedly improper issue advocacy]… victory over deniers and climate criminals is always just around the corner” [Holman Jenkins, Jr., WSJ, paywall]
  • In Denmark, courage of cartoon editors belatedly recognized, yet fear governs press [Jacob Mchangama, Politico Europe]
  • Federal judge: First Amendment forbids Kentucky officials to shut down parenting column written by N.C. psychologist on grounds that it constitutes practice of psychology in Kentucky without a license [Caleb Trotter, Pacific Legal Foundation]
  • “To Tweet or Not to Tweet: How FDA Social Media Guidelines Violate the First Amendment” [Kirby Griffis and Tamara Fishman Barago, Washington Legal Foundation]

September 30 roundup

  • “In reality, government officials often have strong incentives to mandate warnings that are misleading or flat-out wrong” [Ilya Somin] George Akerlof and Robert Shiller’s analysis of consumers as fools leaves something to be desired [Alex Tabarrok, New Rambler Review]
  • “The suppression of competition [is] a core driver of skyrocketing inequality.” New Steven Teles article sure to be much discussed touches on occupational entry restriction, land values inflated by municipal regulation, many other topics of interest [National Affairs]
  • “Patterico Prevails: Vexatious Legal Attack on Speech Fails” [Popehat]
  • On the topic of legal remedies against looks-ism, which I wrote about in The Excuse Factory, C-SPAN airs my comments as a counterpoint to Prof. Rhode [video, begins 1:30, more including transcript]
  • “How copyright is killing your favorite memes” [Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post “Intersect”]
  • University of Nebraska/Kearney agrees to pay $140,000 to two former students for not allowing psychological support dogs in dorms [Department of Justice press release]
  • Regulation of child care provision drives up costs, has unintended consequences [Diana Thomas and Devon Gorry, Mercatus]

Labor and employment roundup

  • The Bernie-Sanders-ized Democratic Party: $15/hour minimum for tipped workers now a platform plank [Evan McMorris-Santoro, BuzzFeed]
  • Austin’s new ban on unlicensed household hauling will hurt informal laborers without helping homeowners [Chuck DeVore]
  • Ellen Pao drops suit against Kleiner Perkins, complaining that California job-bias law, often considered among the nation’s most pro-plaintiff, is against her [ArsTechnica, earlier]
  • “Court of Appeals Reverses Board Decision Allowing Employees to Wear ‘Inmate,’ ‘Prisoner’ Shirts in Customer Homes” [Seth Borden, McGuireWoods]
  • “New Jersey’s Supreme Court has dramatically expanded the state’s whistleblower law… the Court’s decision confirms that CEPA likely is the most far-reaching whistleblowing statute in the U.S.” [New Jersey Civil Justice Association, more, Ford Harrison]
  • In NLRB-land, an employee can act all by himself and it will still be “concerted” action protected as such under the NLRA [Jon Hyman]
  • New York City government to invest in hiring halls for day laborers [New York Daily News]

Medical roundup

  • Study of Type I, Type II error finds FDA much too conservative in drug approval [Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo via Tabarrok]
  • Behind push to license/regulate personal trainers in Washington, DC and elsewhere: ACA opened spigot of publicly channeled wellness money [Aaron Davis/Washington Post via Tyler Cowen, Peter Suderman]
  • “Medical lending”: financiers “invest in operations to remove pelvic implants, [reap] payouts when cases settle” [Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye, Reuters]
  • War on Some Drugs again collides with cancer therapy: “Psilocybin, it appears, targets this existential and spiritual distress.” [Ann Althouse]
  • Citing First Amendment, federal court enjoins FDA from prohibiting truthful speech by drugmakers about off-label uses [WSJ, Alex Tabarrok (in recent years, federal government “has extracted billions of dollars in settlements from pharmaceutical firms for engaging in what appears to be constitutionally protected speech”), Beck and Sullivan, Drug & Device Law on Amarin v. FDA]
  • SEIU 1199: “The union that rules New York” [Daniel DiSalvo/Stephen Eide, Daily Beast and City Journal]
  • Controversial therapist who is also anti-vaccine expert witness loses court challenge to Maryland medical license revocation [Beck, Drug and Device Law]

Too much occupational licensure

Hugh Morley, Bergen Record:

[New Jersey’s] licensed sector now covers about 20 percent of the workforce. Jobs as diverse — and sometimes as seemingly mundane — as barbers, movers and warehousemen, librarians, and career counselors can’t be done legally without getting state approval in New Jersey, usually by paying a fee, submitting personal information, and taking training or educational courses.

Nationwide, the share of jobs requiring licenses is even higher: 25 percent, up from around 5 percent in the 1950s. With economist Milton Friedman in the lead, libertarians have long criticized occupational licensure for restricting competition, limiting consumer choice, raising prices, and curtailing the opportunities of excluded workers, including many poorer persons and new workforce entrants. But more recently discontent with occupational licensure has spread broadly across the ideological spectrum, as with a Brookings study we linked in February. And now the Obama administration — citing Cato! — lends its weight with a new critique. [David Boaz/Cato, Tim Sandefur/Pacific Legal, Glenn Reynolds/USA Today, Stephen Slivinski/No Water Economists]

More: the city of Austin’s new ban on unlicensed household hauling will hurt informal laborers without helping homeowners [Chuck DeVore]

Free speech roundup

  • “Denver DA charges man with tampering for handing out jury nullification flyers” [Denver Post, earlier New York case covered here, here, here, etc.] More: Tim Lynch, Cato.
  • Occupational licensure vs. the First Amendment: Texas regulators seek to shutter doc’s veterinary advice website [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
  • Fired for waving rebel flag? Unlikely to raise a First Amendment issue unless you work for the government, or it twisted your employer’s arm [Huntsville (Ala.) Times, Daniel Schwartz]
  • “Twitter joke thieves are getting DMCA takedowns” [BoingBoing]
  • A reminder of Gawker’s jaw-droppingly bad stuff on freedom of speech (“Arrest Climate Change Deniers”) [Coyote, related]
  • Canadian lawyer/journalist Ezra Levant facing discipline proceeding “for being disrespectful towards a government agency” [Financial Post, earlier]
  • “‘Shouting fire in a theater’: The life and times of constitutional law’s most enduring analogy” [Carlton Larson via Eugene Volokh, also Christopher Hitchens on the analogy]

July 29 roundup

  • Former NYT Peking correspondent Richard Bernstein, who now co-owns two nail salons, challenges Times blockbuster on prevalence of labor exploitation at NYC salons [New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Nolan Brown and followup, Times rebuttal. More: Bernstein rejoinder]
  • More details on how studios used Mississippi attorney general’s office as cut-out against Google [Mike Masnick, TechDirt, earlier here and here, more on AG Jim Hood]
  • Of course licensing laws “are only there to protect consumers and are enforced in a totally neutral way that has nothing to do with viewpoints or political pull (lol).” [Coyote on Boston mayor’s “not welcome in our town” message to Donald Trump]
  • Speaking of Donald Trump, would his lawyer threaten litigation to intimidate reporter Tim Mak? Only in a totally classy way [Daily Beast, S.E. Cupp/New York Daily News (Cohen, 2011: “I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished”), earlier from the vaults on Trump’s use of litigation]
  • Things class-action lawyers sue over: “Beggin’ Strips Don’t Have Enough Bacon” [Reuters, New York Post]
  • As Lois Lerner targeting scandal drags on, time for Congress to impeach IRS officials? [Mike Rappaport, Liberty and Law]
  • Welcome to AFFH-land: Bharara, on behalf of feds, says Westchester County should pay for not squeezing Chappaqua hard enough to approve housing project [Journal-News, earlier here and here]

July 8 roundup

A battle plan against “regressive regulation”

In a new Cato white paper, Brink Lindsey considers the possibilities of assembling a political coalition aimed at trimming at least some kinds of excessive regulation [Arnold Kling, Coyote]:

Despite today’s polarized political atmosphere, it is possible to construct an ambitious and highly promising agenda of pro-growth policy reform that can command support across the ideological spectrum. Such an agenda would focus on policies whose primary effect is to inflate the incomes and wealth of the rich, the powerful, and the well-established by shielding them from market competition. A convenient label for these policies is “regressive regulation” — regulatory barriers to entry and competition that work to redistribute income and wealth up the socioeconomic scale. This paper identifies four major examples of regressive regulation: excessive monopoly privileges granted under copyright and patent law; restrictions on high-skilled immigration; protection of incumbent service providers under occupational licensing; and artificial scarcity created by land-use regulation.