Thursday, July 09, 2015

Licensing and crony capitalism

Great (and old) news from Texas (The American Interest via Instapundit):

In a victory against crony capitalism in Texas, the state’s Supreme Court recently struck down a licensing requirement. [...]

Here’s Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post explaining the case: Here’s what happened in this case: The plaintiffs practice “eyebrow threading,” which is apparently a technique for shaping eyebrows and removing eyebrow hair using a cotton thread. Since 2011, Texas has required them to get a cosmetology license, just as it requires for other cosmetologists; and that requires 750 hours of training, of which at least 320 hours — by the state’s own concession — “are not related to activities threaders actually perform.”

In a 5-4 ruling, the court ruled against the cosmetology license requirement for eyebrow threaders on the grounds that it “is not just unreasonable or harsh, but it is so oppressive that it violates” the Texas State Constitution. [...]

Too often, licensing rules are nothing more than a mechanism for the dominant players in an industry to shield themselves from competition—suppressing jobs (especially for the poor or undercapitalized), raising prices, and stifling creativity along the way. We are glad to see this Texas regulation come down, and hope that others will follow.

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