Hair Braiders Beware

Did you know that many state governments force you to get a license to braid hair, and you could spend around $20,000 to get one?

Moreover, did you know that a number of states force hair braiders to go through 3,200 hours of training?

What about French curls? What about side pony tails? How about ear piercers -- do states force them to be licensed, given theyre using an air gun?

So, 3,200 hours of training to be a hair braider. Thats 19 weeks of training if you were training around the clock, 24/7. Many states require about 1,700 hours of training to become a licensed paramedic, six weeks of training to be a firefighter, and 10 weeks of training to become a police officer.

Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi and California are just some of the states that enforce regulations of hair braiders, says the Heritage Foundation and the University of Minnesota.

This is just one example of the all too numerous, and impenetrably absurd, government obstacles thrown in the way of American entrepreneurs every day.

Moreover, many states slap taxes on top of these licenses, to feed their government machines. Whats happening here is, state bureaucrats are enacting rules to justify their existence. Never mind that more government rules don't create jobs.

And so government bureaucracies exist to perpetuate themselves. Sort of a piece with the saying that, when politicians see light at the end of the tunnel, they add more tunnel.

Also, if you get tripped up by a state's tangled pile of barbed wire rules, they can turn your well-meaning small-business into a criminal operation.

Indeed, some hair salons have even pressured some state regulators to go after hair braiders for not getting cosmetology licenses even though hair braiders don't use chemicals, razors or any of the other potentially hazardous tools used in a regular salon, notes the Heritage Foundation.

Who else must be licensed? Wrestlers, tour guides, frozen dessert sellers, florists, fireworks sellers, interior designers, second hand book sellers, and frozen-dessert sellers, says a new study by Morris Kleiner, a labor professor at the University of Minnesota. The Wall Street Journal reported on his findings, too.

In fact, about a quarter of all U.S. workers must get costly state licenses, says Prof. Kleiner. His recent study found that excessive government licensing hurts job growth, and costs the U.S. economy an estimated $116 billion a year.

He also found that an estimated 1,100 professions must now be licensed in each state, up from an estimated 800 professions needing licenses in the 1980s.

The University of Minnesota study also found that in the 1950s less than 5% of U.S. workers needed licenses, whereas today, despite six decades of deregulation, nearly 30% of all workers are required to be licensed. Thats nearly one out of three U.S. workers, more than double the number of workers required to have licenses in Britain.

And the school found that job growth in occupations where states were not intervening so ham-handedly was 20% higher versus regulated ones between 1990 and 2000.

And what about pesky taxes that you must pay on other licenses? Well, heres a rough list:

Fishing License Tax                                                                                                             Food License Tax Hunting License Tax Marriage License Tax Vehicle License Registration Tax