Policy

Licensed To Ill

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Writes the Murdoch Muckraker Wall Street Journal (sorry, subscribers only):

Butchers, bakers and candlestick makers should enjoy their freedom while it lasts. These lucky professions have so far managed to stay off the list of livelihoods that now require a license to practice in any number of states. Taxidermists, massage therapists and interior decorators aren't so fortunate: They're among the professionals who must have their skills validated by the government.

Overall, the level of licensing regulation in the workplace is rising precipitously, with more than 20% of the workforce now required to get a permit to do their jobs — up from 4.5% in the 1950s. This is the alarming finding of a new study by Adam Summers for the Reason Foundation. These requirements are essentially barriers to business entry and job creation, and Mr. Summers notes that they have become a greater obstacle to employment than minimum wage laws and labor unions.

Read the whole report, Occupational Licensing: Ranking the States and Exploring the Alternatives, by Reason Foundation policy analyst Adam B. Summers.

Update: Find your state ranking and more nauseating information here.