Letter: Occupational licensing goes too far

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 4, 2021

I was very happy to see in “Barber earns registered status” on 1C in Sunday’s Salisbury Post about Daniel King being able to pursue his dreams as a barber. It is regrettable that he had to go through a nine-year process to simply pursue his passion.

The very first rights that the North Carolina Constitution guarantees its citizens are the rights to life, liberty, happiness and the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor. That Mr. King had to go through the hoops he did in order to enjoy the fruits of his own labor is a testament to his hard work in the face of a regulatory state which has erected such a high barrier to entry.

What Mr. King experienced is an example of “occupational licensing” standards which have gone too far. Between 1950 and the present, the amount of American jobs which require a license to practice has increased from 5% to 25%. In some cases, it makes sense for a license to exist — if I go into surgery I want the doctor to have their medical license. But it doesn’t make sense for the state to set the standard for who can be barbers, interior designers or hair braiders (just to name a few jobs which require a license).

I would encourage the Salisbury Post’s readers to check out the great research that is being done on this topic by the Mercatus Center, R Street and the John Locke Foundation.

— Carter Woolly