Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Stupid regulation of the day

This is why licensing is always a bad idea, that allows monopolies and cartels to be formed and prevents free and competitive markets from developing in many sectors.

The Louisiana Floristry Board:
reason: When did the Louisiana law go into place?

Mellor: In the 1940s. There was a proliferation of these licensing laws in the Progressive Era and an explosion of them after the New Deal. They’ve just continued to increase as the number of occupations has grown and enterprising people have created more niches.

In Louisiana, once they set this law in place, it was regulated by the floristry board that was comprised of florists. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, the passage rate on the practical exam—where you arrange flowers and show your proficiency—was about 35 percent a year. It was utterly subjective. They’d just say things like, “It doesn’t have the proper sense of balance. It doesn’t have the proper perspective. It’s not artistic enough.”

There was no appeal from it, no standard of review. You were basically stuck. Many more people passed the bar exam in Louisiana than passed the floristry exam.

The state was arguing that you could create a corsage in such a way that someone could prick their finger on the pin, and that this was a public health and safety rationale sufficient to uphold that law. That’s literally what they were arguing.