Study Shows Govt Licensing Kills 31,000 Jobs & Costs Consumers $2 billion – In 1 State Alone



When we talk about declining jobs and economic burdens, the narrative conditions many to blame some “other” political or cultural group. But perhaps the least talked about threat to jobs comes from the government itself in the form of occupational licensing.

A new analysis from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) found that in Wisconsin alone, the rapid expansion of licensing requirements over the past 20 years caused 31,000 fewer jobs to be had, and cost consumers almost $2 billion.

“The study, the first of its kind to examine the economic and social impact of the more than 240 different types of credentials issued by DSPS, shows a dramatic surge in the number of regulated occupations and license holders.   Across the country, a bipartisan consensus – from the Obama White House to the Koch Brothers – has formed that occupational licensing is arguably one of the most substantial barriers to opportunity in America today. While some credentialing serves to protect public health and safety, much is rank protectionism – a device to “fence in” those who already have permission to work and “fence out” those who do not.”

As this writer posited earlier this year, government licensing is just another extortion racket with no real purpose in making things safer or better.

These licenses involve paying government to take some sort of test and/or provide documentation of state-approved training, and then paying government every year—at steadily increasing rates—until you quit, retire or die.

The notion of being licensed may sound nice to people looking for a service, and the basic idea of demonstrating knowledge about a trade is good. But mandatory government licensing can be described simply as extortion rackets with no real purpose in making things safer or better.

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Even in a profession that can be dangerous to others, such as repairing gas leaks, the constant money shakedown from government has no bearing on the safety of such professions.

As the Institute for Justice (IJ) explains, it is not about protecting consumers, but protection from competition. Government licensing is a joint effort made possible by “the personal interests of those already practicing the occupations” and the state’s thirst for control — just another part of the corporatocracy.

“Occupational practitioners, often through professional associations, use the power of concentrated interests to lobby state legislators for protection from competition though licensing laws.  Such anti-competitive motives are typically masked by appeals to protecting public health and safety, no matter how facially absurd.”

In 17 states, African hair braiding requires a cosmetology license which costs $5,000-15,000 and thousands of hours of classroom training. In Wisconsin, government absurdly requires licensing for things such as auctioneering, beekeeping, selling Christmas trees, dance therapy and peddling ice cream.

Since 1996, according to the WILL report, the number of occupation licensing categories in Wisconsin has ballooned by 84 percent. Licensing puts an average $754 burden on the households in that state; nationwide, the burden is up to $1,600 per year for the average household.

The WILL report comes just in time for the January legislative session in Wisconsin, where several in the Assembly “seek to eliminate licenses in Wisconsin that do not provide legitimate public safety benefits.”

Dedicated campaigns carried out by organizations such as WILL and IJ have forced the issue to the attention of state lawmakers. Lawsuits are having success at forcing authorities to back down from pointless licensing requirements that obviously serve only to protect industry monopolies and raise revenue.

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Case law has spelled out, quite simply, the farce of licensing, such as Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105: “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.

Another issued a clarion call in the fight for freedom.

If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)”

There are other ways to achieve the goals of licensing without the State extortion racket, as IJ explains.

Certification, especially certification by an independent third party, can give consumers justifiably heightened confidence in a service provider without imposing licensing restrictions that stifle entry into an occupation, which limits competition and drives up prices. What’s more, such voluntary certification can be coupled with online reviews and recommendations to further guide consumers to the best service providers.

  • Hugh Jazzole’

    this is pure undisguised KOCH scumbag BULLSHIT. Ciba Chemicals built a plant in the Pinelands in Manchester ,NJ they had NO government interference.When they had no use for certain extremely hazardous chemicals they simple spilled them onto the sandy soil that surrounded the buildings & let them leech into the groundwater & the Toms River.We NEED government controls to stop greedy scum from POISONING AMERICANS,,AMERICANS & All lives first …

    • Tom Madden

      Do African Hair Braiders, Ice Cream Truck drivers, & Beekeepers need government oversight? If they suck at their job, they simply go out of business. You’re talking about chemical plants, oil refineries, etc. Industry-specific that obviously needs government oversight. There is far too much overreach in its current form

    • IceTrey

      Wasn’t that in the 50’s?

    • TechGump

      Gov’t didn’t stop that from happening. It happened. Gov’ts enforced Corporate protections prevented any meaningful liability upon the actions of the rich for those harmed.
      Like all Gov’t reforms, they ride the coattails of already occurring/occurred reform in society (never leading it), whist preventing any meaningful justice upon those responsible (actually hindering progress).

  • Mikenfaye

    This is right on. Licensing in and of itself, has nothing to do with safety. Public safety has nothing to do with private safety but they call it all “public safety.” lt has everything to do with money and control. For just one example here in Ocala, Florida they are getting so greedy they just passed another code enforcement rule, on top of the thousands they already have, that it is mandatory that if you pour a slab that is over 19 square feet (4′ x 5′) in your yard, you must first get a permit which entails 3 inspections before you can use it to put your plants on, and a fee of over $120.00.
    I agree that reasonable permits for commercial jobs to protect the public safety as opposed to homeowners private safety is a good idea but I, as a homeowner, have the right or should have, in a free society to make my own repairs and improvements on my home as I see fit without the governments approval, oversight and control.
    People like Hugh Jazzole are the reason we have out of control government at all levels of society. They never found a rule or law they did not approve of or love. It’s called the slave mentality. A true Hillary and Obama supporter.

    • forman.cindy

      1 yr have passed since I resigned from my old job and I never felt this good… I started doing work from my house, over a site I discovered online, for several hours /a day, and I profit now much more than i did on my old work… Last pay-check i got was for Nine thousand dollars… Amazing thing about this work is that now i have more free time for my loved ones…

    • Samuel Lane

      One is not free in a society wherein one has to ask permission to live one’s life; whether that permission is granted or not. – Ayn Rand

      • naomi.king

        It’s been 1 year since I decided to leave my office job and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started to work online, for a company I discovered on-line, few hours each day, and I earn much more than i did on my office work… Last pay-check i got was for 9 thousand bucks… Great thing about this job is that now i have more time for my loved ones…

      • Mikenfaye

        Amen. Mike

  • dsaulw

    Medical licensing (of various kinds) actually makes medicine a great deal more dangerous and expensive than it would otherwise be.

    When the State only recognizes certain types of healers, hospitals, medical schools, therapeutics (and so forth), then that approach has acquired a legal monopoly and can and has put out of business those who have come up with safer, more effective, and cheaper approaches to healing.

    The government-sanctioned standards of care are, in effect licenses to kill. If an M.D. follows them and kills or maims his patients, he is protected from liability. If he strays, even if his approach makes all of the sense in the world, he jeopardizes his medical license and livelihood.

  • Ibcamn

    state of wis….years ago,it cost nothing to open a tattoo shop,,,,now,each person must have a tattoo/body piercing practicioner license,even if you don’t pierce[body modification]but someone on the premises does and of course you need the tattoo practicionars license as well and then of course the shop itself needs a tattoo license to be open..and then you must have full insurance and pay for every and all inspections and have a spore test done every month on your autoclave[s],which are sterilizers….and you then have to attend sterilization course also ,which each tattooist and piercer must attend….and every year they change the types of autoclaves you can and can’t use and each town is different,but the UN run ones make you pay a personal property tax on all your equip[ment and everything associated with it that can make you money,including your furniture where customers sit and wait…Wisconsin is nasty to their tattooists and body mod shops….just fucking nasty.

  • Drew

    When are you going to stand up to the gov’t and say NO MORE? The Supreme Court, and dozens of other cases, have ruled……..

    “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105)

    “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)

    You have the unalienable right to work, doing anything you want to make a living, as long as it doesn’t bring injury to another person or their property !!!

    STAND UP !!!