Eliminating unnecessary occupational licenses

According to the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing, there are 25 licensing boards, and an additional 22 occupational licensing programs.

I understand the need to license medical, legal, financial, mechanical, and construction-related occupations, like accountants, contractors, doctors and nurses, dentists and dental hygienists, electricians and plumbers, mechanics, pharmacists, realtors, and veterinarians. Specific education and experience is required; health and safety is at risk.

But do we really need to certify acupuncturists, hair stylists, boxers, massage therapists, naturopathy, pest control, and private detectives? Or cemetery and funeral specialists, mixed martial arts contests, travel agencies, and uniform athlete agents?

No. The State doesn’t need to get involved at all, beyond the general license required to start a business. In many cases, the state license doesn’t mean you’re qualified; it just means you paid the license fee. The real certification comes from schools and occupational programs — and repeat customers.

When we find a company that we like and trust, we give them our business. If we don’t like their service, we don’t go back – and we tell everyone about our bad experience. If we have a very bad experience, there’s the Office of Consumer Complaints, the Better Business Bureau, or the specific occupational boards.

“Occupational licensing, while necessary in some professions, raises prices and constricts employment,” Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames warn in their book, “How Capitalism Will Save Us” (page 206).

So let’s save money, reduce paperwork, and minimize bureaucracy by cutting down on the occupational licensing require by the State.

It’s a small start at chipping away government bureaucracy. What do you think?

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