Big Government Builds Barriers to Employment

Politicians talk about incentives to increase employment all the time – often at the expense of taxpayers. But there’s one thing they could do right now to make it easier for Michigan workers to find good jobs and it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime:
Lansing should eliminate arbitrary and expensive occupational licensing requirements.

These state rules and regulations control when you can work, how you can work, how much training you need to work, and even how much you have to pay the government in order to work. It’s the very epitome of Big Government making people’s lives difficult.
In Michigan, we’re well aware of the consequences of these burdensome licensing requirements. As our Chairman Greg McNeilly writes at the Detroit News:
We’re all grown-ups. We know how this works. Often, state licensure requirements aren’t really about helping state government ensure quality results; they’re about helping politically connected professionals legally exclude thousands of less connected individuals who might be interested in landing the same work or job. Excluding 125,000 in Michigan, actually.
And worse, sometimes the barriers are set-up just to ensure a non-government association has justification to exist. There becomes a cozy little cottage industry in Lansing between these groups and the appointment process to their licensure boards.
This kind of cronyism doesn’t just hurt the women and men it cuts out of jobs, it also hurts families by driving up prices. One study found that the annual cost to consumers in Michigan is as high as $10.4 billion.
Increased costs. Fewer employed workers. Why are we making it more difficult for families to earn a living and lift themselves out of poverty?
Getting rid of these barriers to employment isn’t just a good idea. It’s the right thing to do for the people of Michigan.


Tony Daunt
Tony Daunt
Executive Director
Michigan Freedom Fund

"HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel recently aired a segment that took a critical look at the unfulfilled promises of “District Detroit,” which is the area surrounding the new Little Caesars Arena. The Ilitch family, who owns the construction company that built the new arena, promised it would lead to the construction of five new neighborhoods, comprised of residential buildings and a hotel, in the 50 blocks surrounding it. As the HBO segment points out, none of this new development has taken place."
"When do taxpayers stop being protected by the tax limitations put in place to protect us? When is a tax not a tax? The answer: when the Legislature calls the tax by a different name."
"It’s the union that won’t take “NO” for an answer. Five years after workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga said “no thanks” to representation by the UAW, the beleaguered union was once again rejected this week. Shed a tear for the editors who had to scrap or rewrite pre-drafted editorials about labor’s new momentum in the south."

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