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Opening Arguments

My common sense can whup your dogma

Today's lesson in "preaching to the choir" editorializing comes from The Journal Gazette's disissal of a proposal to drop the licensing requirement for engineers. The editorial slams all licensing rollbacks as dogma driven, an example of "political ideology" threatening to "trump common sense."


States regulate professions – doctors, attorneys, teachers, engineers and more – to protect the public good.

Licensing and regulation don’t rise from a vacuum; they come from cases shaped by negligence, malpractice and incompetence.

Now, I don't know whethert de-licensing engineers is a good idea. Pure libertarians would even drop licensing for doctors and lawyers and let the free market weed out the frauds and incompetents. Don't know that I'd go that far, but the state's efforts (three so far) to get rid of some of the red tape and overregulation seems commendable to me. Do we really need the state to protect us from incompetent barbers and manicurists?

The state regulates more than 70 professions with licenses -- one in four Hoosiers must be licensed to go to work every day. That amount of regulation makes prices higher and stifles competition, which is why so often the "professionals" themselves want to keep licensing -- it keeps the riff-raff out.

Going through the weeds and doing a little trimming seems like common sense to me. And the only ones who can't see it are, well, being led around by their dogma.

My common sense vs. your dogma -- that, friends, is editorial writing 101.

UPDATE: Even the White House disagrees with the JG's "licensing is good" dogma:

The White House report, entitled Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers, raises some important points. First, “more than one-quarter of U.S. workers now require a license to do their jobs, with most of these workers licensed by the states. The share of workers licensed at the state level has risen fivefold since the 1950s.” Where a license used to be required only for unusual jobs, now licensing requirements take up a major part of the employment sphere — and not just for physicians, but also for florists or funeral attendants


Andrew j
Mon, 08/03/2015 - 10:15am

Just look to NYC to c what incompetent nail techs have wrought