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Citing Adam Smith And Milton Friedman, Obama's Economic Advisors Back Occupational Licensing Reform

Posted by New Leaders Council 4 Admin on July 31, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Originally published on Forbes on July 31, 2015 by Nick Sibilla.

The Obama Administration is backing the fight to roll back occupational licensing, a little-known drain on the economy. Typically associated with fields like law and medicine, today a quarter of America’s workforce now needs a license to work—a fivefold increase from the 1950s and more than double the number of Americans who are now union members.

Millions of Americans must now gain government approval to do their jobs, even in trades as harmless as trimming trees, braiding hair, whitening teeth and arranging flowers. Many licenses are a substantial barrier for aspiring workers and entrepreneurs. According to a 2012 report from the Institute for Justice about entry requirements into low and mid-income occupations, on average, workers must complete nine months of education or training requirements, pass at least one examination and spend over $200 in fees. Altogether, one study even estimated that licensing could “result in up to 2.85 million fewer jobs nationwide, with an annual cost to consumers of $203 billion.”

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