In 1950, one out of every twenty people needed a license to engage in their profession or occupation. Today, one out of every three people need such a license. Folks with a libertarian mind set see this as government overreach. They may be correct. Others see this as a natural result of the development of technology and/or the result of increasing instances of harm to the public by unscrupulous practitioners. They may be correct, too.
Regulation of any profession requiring a license is a balancing act. Regulatory boards are most often comprised of of individuals who are active practitioners of the professions they regulate. As a member of such a board, you have to balance the need to protect the public interest without restricting trade. Sometimes boards fail at this. Recently, a Board of Dentistry in a southern US state sent cease and desist letters to businesses in malls that were offering teeth whitening services. The teeth whiteners protested, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court. The Court agreed with the teeth whiteners, and stated that the dentists were only concerned with profit for dentists, not with the public interest. This has spurred an anti-regulatory movement, which complicates things for we who are really concerned with the public interest as well as with economic growth.
The problem with regulation is that no one wants it until they want it. If you recall, there were some hot air ballooning accidents last summer, and the immediate reaction was “Why weren’t these balloon companies regulated?!” I attended a conference of regulatory boards for my own profession last week I learned that, in Washington State, boxing announcers must be licensed. That struck me as one of the funniest things I had heard in a long time. I have no idea why that type of license is necessary. Government is the great equalizer, as 45 has yet to understand. No one is above the law. The tension for regulation is uncomfortable, but necessary, in my opinion.
What laws would you pass if you could? What laws would you strike down? Why do you think boxing announcers need to be licensed?