In his masterpiece, Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman argued against occupational licensing requirements by making the case that in a free society, you shouldn’t even need a certificate or degree to practice medicine or law. Whether you agree with Friedman on this or not on these two tough examples (we do) his main point was that there is no reason for licensing requirements for realtors or plumbers or moving companies or barbers. These are just restraints on trade that hurt lower-income minorities trying to enter the trades and raise consumer prices.
That’s why we were thrilled when CTUP hosted a lunch this week for Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, and he announced that he has signed a law to make it easier for experienced, skilled, and already licensed out-of-state professionals in 85 fields to join Virginia’s workforce.
The overall share of U.S. jobs requiring an occupational license increased from 5 percent in the 1950s to 23 percent in 2021.
Eight states have passed comprehensive reform (list below) recently. Three others (New Hampshire, Nevada, and Ohio) are on the verge of passing bills into law.
If your state isn’t on the list, contact your state legislators and urge them to follow the example of Governor Youngkin and other leaders in opening up job opportunities in occupations that range from a makeup artist (41 states) to hair braiding (16 states).