Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Keeping Business Honest
I normally don't do "economics", although I seem to be hitting that mark more often recently. I just finished reading an article from John Stossel with the above title. In it, he makes a very good case for ending regulations concerning licensing, demonstrating how they actually stifle business and hurt consumers, rather than protecting them.
He mentions some of the more ridiculous licensing schemes, such as for hair braiding in Mississippi, wooden casket makers and florists in Louisiana, and yoga instructors in Virginia. I remember an article a couple of years ago concerning a monastery where the brothers built wooden caskets which were sold at a lower price than commercially marketed caskets. Their operation was shut down when the funeral industry in their state complained to state legislators, likely because they felt it threatened their monopoly on - and exorbitant profit from - the sale of caskets. Legislation had been written requiring actually being in the funeral business in order to sell caskets. The regulations were set by a board where eight of the nine members were funeral industry professionals (i.e., individuals making money from the funeral industry). The monks were charged fines and threatened with jail time for not complying with the regulations set by this board.
Stossel's arguments are logical and reasonable. Please read them.