Occupational Licenses Are Killing Minority Entrepreneurship

Five hundred hours of training for a cosmetology license? C'mon, man.

Source: Occupational Licenses Are Killing Minority Entrepreneurship - Foundation for Economic Education

This isn't a problem that only affects minorities but I'm sure that minorities are disproportionally affected. Licenses can be a huge barrier to entry to working for yourself (or even others) so make it even harder to find a job. To simply cut hair you can need up to 500 hours of training. Training, by the way, that is not free but costs thousands of dollars. This is an economic issue. You may have a talent for cutting and styling hair but if you can't afford the cost of the training, the time it takes to complete the training, and the cost of the license itself, then it doesn't do you any good. Black market haircuts anyone?

You don't have to be a libertarian to see the stupidity in this. What protection can such a license provide in cases like this? It's not as if you are handling nuclear material or a new alien virus. In fact, getting a license to be an emergency medical technician can be far less difficult (150 hours of training) than getting a license to style hair (1000 hours of coursework plus a two year apprenticeship). Those numbers are for Massachusetts but there are absurd examples all over the place. California, not surprisingly at all, is one of the worst examples of stupid licensing standards. In California you need special licenses for tasks such as installing or repairing garage doors, basic carpentry, and even landscaping.

If liberals are really concerned with the welfare of minorities (especially in California which is a very liberal state), then why put up so many unnecessary barriers to actually making money with your skills? Whatever benefits are gained by such absurd licensing requirements cannot possibly outweigh the problems it causes. People don't need protection from bad haircuts, a poor hairstyle or ugly landscaping (all of which can happen with licensing as well) at the expense of innumerable jobs. Incidentally, restricting who can work a particular job by having licensing requirements also drives up costs. So the next time you wonder why that haircut is so expensive or why getting someone to cut your yard costs so much, now you know one of the primary factors involved.

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