Skip to comments.Stossel: Licensing Madness
Posted on 03/11/2010 4:29:19 AM PST by logician2u
My show tonight tonight asks, why do so many occupations need a license? Requiring permission from the state to do everything from flower arranging to practicing law paralyzes competition and protects entrenched special interests.
Our most outrageous example of licensing madness is the plight of David Price, a man who learned the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished, especially when messing with lawyers. Price made the mistake of helping Eldon Ray, a fellow Kansan who was fined for practicing architecture without a license. Price didn’t represent Ray in court; he just helped Ray by writing a letter to respond to the fine. In states like Kansas, that practically makes Price Perry Mason. A judge (a lawyer with a robe) threw Price into jail on contempt charges, not to be released until he promised to never give legal advice again – ever.
After six months, Price relented and agreed to the court’s terms. Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, believes Price should never have spent a day in jail.
“The state has no moral or lawful authority to restrain A and B from agreeing to exchange a service for a payment, providing that the agreement is voluntary.”
Price ran afoul of Kansas’ Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) regulations. All states have them, although Arizona is one of a few that allow non-lawyers to prepare legal documents like wills. Unfortunately the non-lawyers still must pass an exam. But Arizona citizens are happy to have a lower-price option to expensive lawyers.
Judge Napolitano points out that licensing is a device that special interests use to protect special interests from competition.
“The concept of state licensing, if permitted to continue, will know no end. If the state can license physicians and lawyers, can it license broadcasters and journalists and shoemakers? A license from the state to do anything that another is willing to pay for is an interference with free choice. I would rather know from a source other than the state that Dr. Y graduated from Harvard Medical School or Attorney Z aced his exams at the University of Chicago Law School; then I could choose that physician or lawyer without seeking the permission of the state. The state steals what it owns and has no moral authority, except when it protects my freedom… the licensing mechanism is frequently a cartel of those in the profession to whom the power of the state is granted to keep like-minded persons in the cartel, and different thinkers out.”
For more on the insane expansion of states’ licensing powers watch “Stossel” tonight, on the Fox Business Network at 8PM and 11PM Eastern time. I’ll interview David Price, Judge Napolitano, and a lawyer who says Price should have been jailed.
Stossel - tonight on FBN - 8 PM Eastern, 7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific
Be there or beware.
Another example of the folly resulting from state licensing is in the appraisal profession. After the S&L debacle of the mid-80s, the government imposed state licenses, but the appraisers, who had achieved professional accreditation, found the public now believes the low-bar established by the state is the seal of quality. Wrong conclusion, IMHO.
How about the University of Haiti?
I like Stossel, and I agree that licensing requirements exist for many professions where they are not needed. But he is going way too far if he thinks lawyers and especially physicians should not be licensed.
Once again, this points out one of the the differences between Libertarians and Conservatives.
Licensing of lawyers and doctors is not overly burdensome on those professionals, and greatly increases the chances of their clients receiving competent service. It saves lives and keeps innocent people from going to prison or losing their property.
If anyone, with little or no training could simply hang a shingle and call themselves a doctor or lawyer, the result would be chaos, not more freedom.
I can appreciate the example but in the absence of licensing it would require citizens to do a lot of homework on every trademan or professional they employ. It would also make them “more” vulnerable to being scammed.
I am in a state licensed profession and although it is not a perfect system it allows individuals a means to easy authenticate their credentials and holds them accountable for malpractice.
I was in the profession who granted them to relatives and those who were “connected”. They used their vetting of education and experience requirements to restrain competition. They also did a poor job in disciplining members.
When state licensing came in it required testing, education and internship and was merit based. Discipline however has been inconsistent but no worse than it was before licensing.
I like Stossel but I hope he provides a balanced picture on this one.
It is all about money. The government has invented ways to milk us for cash in every way to fund their never ending appetite.
How do you determine which fields of service are “too critical” to allow people to practice without government approval?
And couldn’t those professions establish their own seal of approval, and let people decide for themselves if they care?
My favorite example is Kosher law, where Kosher is determined not by the state, but by the religious leaders. But the state provides trademark protection so others can’t falsely claim to be Kosher.
I contrast that with “Organic” foods, where it used to be private, but someone got Government to pass a federal regulation defining Organic. Now multi-national corporations lobby congress to fix the “Organic” definition to their liking, and the little folks who were the heart of the organic movement are priced out, and organic organizations spend all their time fighting against the changes in the definitions that they dislike.
***It is all about money. The government has invented ways to milk us for cash in every way to fund their never ending appetite.***
We are all required to have drivers’ licenses - money to the State - but that does not prevent licensed maniacs from killing us on the highways.
Licenses do not weed out bad lawyers, physicians, dentists, builders, hairdressers, etc., They are only exposed after the damage has occurred.
I like the guy and he is right on so many economic issues that I write this in sorrow, not anger. Stupid move....and I predict he's not going to last long as a Fox regular if he's going bonkers and far afield from his economic analysis with bizarre commentaries on issues most folks consider amoral and detrimental to society.
“How do you determine which fields of service are âtoo criticalâ to allow people to practice without government approval?”
By exercising judgment, most of it common sense. I realize these concepts are offensive and frightening to many Libertarians, but they are not so bad when you give them a try.
Brain surgeons - Yes
Shoe shine boys - No
Lawyers - Yes
Walmart cashiers - No
You see, that wasn’t so hard. It didn’t hurt you a bit.
So what if anyone hangs out a shingle? People can look at the past performance and make their own decision.
The license means that someone passed a test and has done work for x number of years, not that they are good or competent.
Costs for licensure are more than you think; initial cost plus ongoing education costs add up.
If you have work done on your house and need a permit from the government, do you really think that the government does anything to insure that the work is good. No they really do not; they have no culpability in it. You pay the fee, they inspect but if it is not right they are held blameless. It is a cash stream for the government that is all it is.
Sure, that's the rational, but it doesn't work like that. Incompetent and lawyers, and those who regularly overcharge and cheat their clients, enjoy long and prosperous careers if they are in large firms, or have the right political connection. Not to believe that is like believing in the tooth fairy.
Unlicensed doctors and lawyers and pharmacists and home remodelers have the potential to kill maybe a dozen people if they are totally incompetent and perhaps damage for life hundreds more, either physically or financially, before the long arm of the law drags them before a judge.
They should expect to go to prison for their crimes, in addition to paying restitution to their victims, if they knowingly misrepresented themselves and violated the law.
But you know what? Unethical journalists -- reporters, editors, commentators, TV anchors -- have been known to defame patriotic Americans, smear conservatives, and even start wars in which thousands of Americans and others have died.
Isn't it about time these people start getting licensed?
After all, their idea of competition is whoever can make up the most outrageous stories and get away with it, to get market share and Emmy awards.
So if libertarian concepts don't cut the mustard in other professions, why not license news people to protect the public from abuse? Isn't that equally important?
My show tonight tonight asks, why do so many occupations need a license?
1) to limit competition in order to force higher charges.
2) to give government a cut of the resulting higher costs.
I can appreciate the example but in the absence of licensing it would require citizens to do a lot of homework on every trademan or professional they employ.
Do you realize how easy it would be to do this with the web?
“Brain surgeons - Yes
Shoe shine boys - No”
So you want some bureaucrat deciding who can and cannot do your brain surgery.
Way to go, Stossel! I hope that the government partnership monopolists don’t cut Fox sponsorship fees for that.
My daughter is having her wedding dress made for her, and the lady making it is a licensed seamstress. I had no idea there was such a thing- I am not sure if she was required to have a license or if she has one to be more professional. Just boggles my mind.
What is a “legal service”. Writing a will? Filling out your taxes? Is writing down who you want to have your money harder than determining the correct amount of tax to pay?
If we can make tax paperwork so that ordinary people can follow the tax code, one of the more complicated laws around, why can’t ordinary people do other simple paperwork without a lawyer?
People defend themselves in traffic court — why can’t people hire another non-lawyer who might have learned a thing or to do represent them in traffic court?
The issue isn’t whether you can name two professions for which you could think of cases that you would like licensing.
How about doctoring. Parents treat all sorts of illnesses for their own family at home, without ever calling a doctor. Doctors offices include physician’s assistants and nurses who increasingly provide medical care and consulting.
Why can’t a clinic be opened that could see people who think they are sick, but don’t want to pay huge sums of money to find out? There are people who do a lot of self-treatment because they are smart and can read the internet. Why not let others who aren’t so smart benefit from that resource?
And then, why do we need a state government license for the heart surgeon? Just require a medical degree, and have the hospital implement it’s own policy for making sure it’s workers are competent. If the hospital hires bad doctors, they will get a bad reputation.
Do we license sushi chefs? They could kill you. We license plumbers, even though most people can do their own plumbing.
In a lot of cases, we allow people to do their OWN lawyering, or plumbing, or electrical, or cut their own hair, but we won’t allow them to get another person to do it for them for money unless that other person is licenced. Since we let people do their own work, it obviously isn’t that we require competence. So it must be that the professions want to limit competition.
People can’t drive cars without government licenses. But people crash all the time — why would we ever think that government is competent to hand out licenses only to people who are worthy of them?
Licensed doctors and lawyers and pharmacists and home remodelers have the potential to kill maybe a dozen people if they are totally incompetent and perhaps damage for life hundreds more, either physically or financially, before the long arm of the law drags them before a judge.
In fact, the license is likely to help them get away with it longer, and they will usually be protected by their fellow-licensed “peers”. Totally incompetent professionals often garner customers because they have a government piece of paper that the gullible trust.
Legislators are bombarded with letters and calls from these perennial do-gooders and their friends wanting them to "do something," and what we get is more regulations, whether the industry needs them or not.
I have observed, too, that Republicans are as much responsible as Democrats for sponsoring and supporting regulations "for the chillun" or "to keep us safe."
Today, July 21, 2009 Kansas declared war on the United States. At the direction of Attorney General Steve Six, the State of Kansas Supreme Court today did the equivalent of firing a shot at Fort Sumner, the first shot of the American Civil War. The sheriff deputies arrested David Martin Price for failing to appear in the state¹s highest court even though his case had been removed to federal court and is currently in appeal. David Price¹s notice of appeal suspended the decision of US District Court Judge Sam Crow and the Tenth Circuit US Court of Appeals has not yet ruled on Kansas Attorney General Steve Six¹s motion to dismiss the federal appeal. The State of Kansas Supreme Court has previously violated federal laws by moving the state proceeding faster than the federal court, but Kansas Attorney General Steve Six has not informed the Kansas Supreme Court that the US Supreme Court has recently ruled that this form of obstruction of justice is unlawful and does not stop the federal court¹s jurisdiction.
David Martin Price¹s ³crime² was aiding the rural minister Rev. Eldon Ray who was being prosecuted for ordering rafters for his church without an architect¹s license. The State of Kansas Legislature was so horrified that the state¹s judicial branch and professional licensing enforcement could be misused by corrupt state officials that they passed the Eldon Ray law and left $8 Million dollars out of the Kansas Supreme Court¹s budget.
When Attorney General Steve Six and the State of Kansas Supreme Court continued to prosecute Rev. Ray and his administrative hearing advocate David Martin Price for the practice of law, despite the US Department of Justice briefings that the conduct violated Price¹s First Amendment Rights and Kansas state laws expressly providing for layperson advocates in administrative hearings, the legislature took out another 16 million dollars from the State of Kansas Supreme Court¹s budget.
It is safe to say that in no readers¹ lifetime has a state openly seceded from federal rule of law in violation of the US Constitution¹s Supremacy Clause giving the exercise of federal jurisdiction priority over state proceedings.
Quacks who graduated from med school in the '60s and never kept up with modern medicine are probably still practicing, maltreating their patients and enjoying a healthy living -- all thanks to that piece of paper hanging on the office wall.
The eBay and Amazon ratings, Snell-rated motorcycle helmets, and Underwriter's Laboratories certification of electronic devices are all examples of non-governmentally-approved ratings, that are trusted by consumers. There's also Consumer's Reports. One could imagine independent ratings firms, which rate products, but which, unlike Moody's, can have those ratings verified by simple means.
If you think government is the only possible solution, you're really part of the problem.
Let's hope the Kansas Supreme Court and AG are equally determined to defy the feds when and if Obamacare becomes mandatory for everyone.
Common sense is not fearmongering. You are the one engaging in fearmaongering with your false “slippery slopes”. “If we require a medical degree and license to cut into a person’s brain, it will inevitbaly lead to government control over every minute detail of our lives!”
Honestly, I’m not willing to allow an untrained, unlicensed “doctor” kill a few dozen people, before he gets shut down by the government for manslaughter, or by a bunch of bad reviews on Yelp.com.
One of the biggest barriers to an efficient FREE MARKET is fraud and lack of tranparency. Individuals who sell products and services that are not what they appear to be (and can be deadly) destroy free markets. Reasonable licensing and regulation (and much current licensing and regulation is NOT reasonable) facilitates free markets.
Your “zero tolerance policy” for regulation is the exact same mentality fo those who implement “zero tolerance” policies in schools, for weapons and drugs that make no distinction between two-inch, plastic toy LEGO “guns” and loaded AK-47’s, or between dealing crack coaine in the halls and taking an Advil.
They are both blockheaded philosophies that assume that nobody is capable of exercising any common sense or judgment.
Libertarians would under-regulate everything for the same reason that Liberals would over-regulate everthing. Both groups are terrified of the idea of the exercise of common sense and judgment being required, once in a while. The Liberal solution is Nanny-Statism, the Libertarian solution is Anarchy. Both are fataly flawed and dangerous.
One of the reasons the software industry has been so spectacularly successful over the last thirty years is the total absence of government interference. Look for this to change soon, in this new recessionary environment with governments exceptionally hungry for new revenues.
Unlike Moody's, which for all intents and purposes is a tool of state and local governments. Or so I've heard.
Isn't it funny how Sen. Dodd and the other Democrats who say there wasn't enough regulation of financial markets before the meltdown seem to have a blind eye when it comes to Moody's and S&P, who some would say can be bought for the right price.
Good points. Thanks.
I can see having the state acknowledge someone has attended an accredited school and passed the required course, but I can NOT see having to pay a fee every year, going to required yearly courses and whatnot just to 'maintain' a license.
It's PURE revenue generation so the State can use us like living ATMs.
The defense of this practice is the same as that forwarded after the Chile earthquake: government regulation makes us safer. And believe it or not, there are those on Free Republic who echoed that sentiment!
I know I sleep better at night knowing my wife isn’t having her nails done by an UNLICENSED manicurist (shudder).
Intitial licensing fees for physicians range from around $200 to about $1,200 (California of course), with the average being around $600.
I’d imagine renewal fees are much lower. States are not making big bucks off these licenses, and these fees are miniscule compared to the cost of medical school and other costs of doing business.
Your equating "zero tolerance" wrt drugs in schools with deregulation is an apples and oranges comparison, and you should know that. We trust school authorities to use good judgment and common sense when a student brings a plastic knives from home in her lunch bag? Of course not; that's why they call it zero tolerance -- these adults with masters and PhD degrees are incapable of differentiating benign objects used to eat with from weapons used to kill.
Either you believe the citizenry is capable of making their own choices -- in where and how they live, caring for themselves and their family, choosing products and services (to include educational facilities) -- or you believe the government, having superior information and well-trained (and licensed?) employees on the payroll, will make those kinds of decisions for you. It's as simple as that.
For myself, I put my money and my life on the people, with a single exception.
Electing the best candidates for public office.
When government makes unnecessary, burdensome regulations, the people should demand their repeal, and have the power to do this.
The people also have a right to demand, reasonable, common sense regulations that protect people, facilitate free markets, and bring some semblance of order to society.
Your absolutist views are why Libertarians are generally considered a laughing stock. The throw the baby out with the bath water approach is dangerous and stupid.
I am also fascinated by the fact the Libertarians always seem to foucs their fire on regulations and laws that actually have some legitimate purpose and prevent a lot of harm to society, rather and on the truly silly and burdensome ones.
It is always, “Legalize crack, heroin, pot and meth!”, or “Eliminate licensing for physicians”, not “That law dictating the exact size of lettering on store signs should be repealed”.
Watch John Stossel tonight and you will be even more fascinated.
As I said, I often like Stossel’s work. Unlike a lot of Libertarians, he often seems to target the truly silly regulations that cause far more harm than good. I don’t have Fox Business so I won’t be able to watch.
Many cable systems that carry Fox News charge extra for (or don't even offer) Fox Business. Don't understand why, as it's far superior to CNBC (and Faux News, for that matter).
Look for it to show up on YouTube probably sometime tomorrow if you think you're interested. From your comments on this thread, I doubt you are.
Stossel ping for those who are interested. Tonight at 8 Eastern on FBN, repeating tomorrow and Saturday.
I’ll try to find it on the web. As I said, I like when Stossel goes after ridiculous over regulation. I am interested to see if he has really gone over the edge and thinks unlicensed doctors are fine.
I do think the government should provide definitions, to wit certifications. If you call something a “fish stick”, we should know that as a nation the term has been defined and a contract referencing the term need not address all conceivable variations. Likewise “heart surgeon” or “flower arranger” should be uniformly defined, and anyone taking on the term should, unless otherwise redefined in a contract, adhere to the nationally standardized definition thereof; a “heart surgeon” should be accredited as such with X Y and Z training, and a “flower arranger” should presumably be more than someone picking plants off the side of the road and shoving them in containers. The idea is that common folk can use common terms in common ways without being blindsided by uncommon absurd variations thereon; contracts are great, so long as I don’t need 30 pages of legalese to ensure my barber doesn’t decide to cut my hair with Nair.
Definitions are distinct from licensing, where you must beg other citizens for permission to use a moniker.
Stossel is a bit late on this.
We already have state, county and municipal licenses.
We already have medeval guild style limitations on businesses.
See the absurd liquor license quantity limits pushed by local governements. (only so many bars allowed)
then again, McCain Feingold is all about “licensed and approved” to provide political speech.
You really think he could have run a program like this one on ABC?
Give him a break. Look for more current controversies on his upcoming shows. He's signed to do about 40 total, and I doubt his well of material will run dry.
I want all licensing dropped completely. Anyone can do anything anytime for any reason anywhere. Anyhow.....