• The Haircut Police

      Orange County, Florida has seen a sharp increase in crime: Murders are up 45% . Maybe it’s because the police are busy with more important things. As the Orlando Sentinel reports:

      As many as 14 armed Orange County deputies, including narcotics agents, stormed Strictly Skillz barbershop … handcuffing barbers …

      It was just one of a series of unprecedented raid-style inspections the Orange County Sheriff's Office recently conducted with a state regulating agency, targeting several predominantly black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops … deputies arrested 37 people — the majority charged with "barbering without a license"

      Jeff Weiner, the reporter who broke the story, tells us that the barbers were taken to jail.  They were only let out if they were able to post bond. Some said they stayed in prison for days.

      So you may get mugged or murdered in Orange County, but at least you won’t get a bad haircut. Actually, you might get a bad haircut – there’s no evidence that government-regulated barbers give better haircuts.  Regulation just means they’ve paid thousands of dollars for courses they probably don’t need, and kissed some bureaucrats’ rings.

      State licensing laws have become a system of protectionism for influential insiders who don't want competition. Whether for barbers, lawyers or florists, such laws rarely protect consumers. A free competitive market for reputation protects consumers much more effectively than government does.

      But the raids do give the “Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspectors” something to do.

      At least some people understand the law’s absurdity:

      Abrams, who works at Barber Kings in Pine Hills, said he knew his license wasn't current when inspectors entered, and he expected a slap on the wrist and a fine.

      When he and the eight others arrested at Barber Kings that day got to jail, "everybody laughed at us," Abrams said. "Even the judge was like, 'Are you serious?' "

      Sadly, government’s destructive and constant growth is all too serious.

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