Tedy Okech, of Boise, Idaho, has braided hair almost her entire life. She was told she needed a cosmetology license to open a braiding salon in Idaho, requiring years of schooling and training and thousands of dollars. Otherwise, she would be fined or even arrested.
About one-quarter of Americans are now subject to these occupational licensing regulations in order to work — up from about 1 in 20 in the 1950s. Given these trends, are we all going to have to get permission from the government to work in our occupations? When Nobel laureate Milton Friedman was asked why so many occupations were licensed, he quipped that he was surprised that all workers did not seek to be regulated.