Feb 23, 2017

FTC chief cracks down on 'ridiculous' job license regs

Kim Hart, author of Cities

Maureen Ohlhaussen, acting chairwoman of the FTC, today outlines her first major policy initiative: cracking down on out-of-control job licenses.

Say what?: She's talking about the occupational licenses for doctors, electricians and other jobs that have health and public safety implications. Now a license is required for nearly 30 percent of jobs, including interior designers, make-up artists and hair-braiders — where, Ohlhaussen argues, the public safety and health rationale for the requirement "ranges from dubious to ridiculous."

"I challenge anyone to explain why the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the public from rogue interior designers carpet-bombing living rooms with ugly throw pillows." — Maureen Ohlhaussen

Why she cares: Ohlhaussen says the needless expansion of occupational licenses is an example of "erosion in economic liberty" and drives up costs and limits Americans' ability to enter certain fields.

What she's doing about it: She plans to announce today that she'll create an Economic Liberty Task Force within the FTC, which will focus on occupational licensing restrictions and "other barriers to economic opportunities."

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