Want to be an interior designer? A hair braider? A taxi driver? Go for it! It's that drive to be your own boss that's made many Americans independent, and that's helped make America prosperous.
Wait, you better not. Once, you could just start your own business, but today, nearly 1 in 3 Americans needs a government license to do it. And getting a license often means spending years and thousands of dollars for unnecessary classes.
My syndicated column this week is mostly about Jestina Clayton, who learned about that the hard way:
Ten years ago, she moved from Africa to Utah. She assumed she could support her children with the hair-braiding skills she learned in Sierra Leone. For four years, she braided hair in her home. She made decent money. But then the government shut her down because she doesn't have an expensive cosmetology license that requires 2,000 hours of classroom time -- 50 weeks of useless instruction. The Institute for Justice (ij.org), the public-interest law firm that fights such outrages, says "not one of those 2,000 hours teaches African hair-braiding."
IJ lawyer Paul Avelar explained that "the state passed a really broad law and left it to the cosmetology board to interpret."
Guess who sits on the cosmetology board. Right: cosmetologists.
And they don't like competition.
Read the rest of the column to hear why government regulation is making it even harder for people to make a living.