Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Want a measure of the regulatory state run amok?

Recently in the Washington Post, Robert McNamara of the Institute for Justice informed us that “In the 1950s, only about one out of every 20 Americans needed a license to pursue the occupation of their choice. Today, that number is one out of every three.”

Wow. A lot more hoops to jump through to get a job or start a business.

Want to add insult to injury? The actual regulation McNamara was writing about makes it illegal — punishable by three months in the local jail in our nation’s capital — to “describe . . . any place or point of interest in the District to any person” as part of a tour without first getting a license.

And the license process is no picnic, either. Sure, this past summer the city did repeal the rule requiring a doctor’s certification that the aspiring guide is not a drunkard. But there remain plenty of stupid regulations, including new ones that require guides to be proficient in English. And yes, that applies even to guides who talk to those benighted folk who speak foreign languages.

Applicants must also pass a test on their knowledge of “various facets of Washington life, including architecture, history and regulations.”

Tour guides must be expert in “regulations.”

Even the Washington Post headlined its editorial, “Tour de farce,” suggesting that a system of “voluntary certification” would work better than big government rules.

Yes. That’s right.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Bill Crider says:

    Paul, you should do a column on the fact that these licenses and regulations are a tax on doing business. Whether they are a revenue-generating tax or simply a burden, they reduce the profit of companies and make it harder to do business. As a barrier to entry they prevent many would-be small businesses from ever getting off the ground – stifling free enterprise, reducing competition, and slowing the economy.

  2. ForFreedom says:

    “Regulation” today should be call the “protection racket” that it is. It benefits special interests and politicians (who receive bribes, or I should say campaign contributions). Politicians love “regulation” because it means they start getting campaign funds from those affected by the regulations (affected either negatively or positively).

    Rather than let the free enterprise system sort out the good from bad, now politicians decide (often for the bad instead of the good).

    I’ll add, that Carter deregulated the airlines, railroads, trucking and beer. I personally thank him for the now inexpensive air travel, and I’ll have a finely crafted beer in celebration. Before, there were only 14 brewers in the US. And Democrats blame Republicans for “deregulating” Wall Street, a unjustified charge.

    Funny that it was a Democrat who actually deregulated industry, and broke the special interests’ stranglehold on government policy. We sorely need more deregulation today.

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