Thursday, May 10, 2012

Should You Need a Government License to Make an Honest Living?

It seems like in too many cases the answer has become yes. As the following Institute for Justice video will make clear there are far too many occupations that impose licensing requirements that really have nothing to do with public health and safety and everything to do with protecting the turf of incumbents. The video relates how in 1950 only 1 in 20 workers needed a license for any particular occupation. Now it's 1 in 3. The Institute looked at 102 low to mid-level occupations to see what barriers were thrown in front of people who might desire to make a living in those occupations.

In my state, Arizona, for example, to be able to cut and style hair it is necessary to get a license that requires 1,500 hours of instruction. Not usually one to look to federal government requirements as an example, the Federal Aviation Administration actually seems to have the right balance. To qualify for an Airline Transport Pilot's license, an ATP, the requirement is for a total minimum flight time of 1,500 hours. However, unlike the requirement of 1,500 hours to wield a pair of scissors and possibly do a bad haircut, the actual minimum legal requirement for instruction is roughly 55 to 75 hours spent with an instructor, depending on how you interpret Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). The rest is minimum logged time in various buckets; total flight time, cross country, night, instrument, etc. Most of the time is individual practice. You move on to various license levels by FAA check rides your instructor signs you off for when you are ready.

To require so much instruction time to cut hair and so little to gain a license to fly an airlplane that is potentially carrying  hundreds of people is ridiculous on its face. 

Now, with that in mind, here is the video.

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