Friday Roundup, November 16th

  • Don’t miss the next Liberty Law Talk with Adam White on the significant power of independent federal agencies. The NLRB is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • The ACLU, yes the ACLU, is suing Morgan Stanley over adjustable rate mortgages. Mission Creep?

In a sane world, if occupational licensure existed at all, it would be automatically relaxed at a time of extremity like this, with lives as well as gigantic economic damage at risk. But this is New York, where apparently even the protectionist exclusion of qualified electricians who hold licenses in the next county over can’t be waived.

It’s at a time of disaster that the irrationality of so many market-blocking rules, licensure among them, becomes most obvious. In a splendid report issued by the Institute for Justice in May, License To Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing, by Dick M. Carpenter II, Lisa Knepper, Angela Erickson (formerly of Cato) and John K. Ross examine what should be the most dispensable tranche of occupational licensure laws, those for occupations like bartender, shampooer and animal trainer, typically lower-income and often somewhat entrepreneurial that are licensed in some but not all of the fifty states. Usually, the result is a controlled real-world demonstration that without the legal restriction of a given trade, life just goes on normally.

  • Ted McAllister on the crisis in journalism: “The crisis of contemporary journalism and the deeper problem of modern, mass democracy turns out to be, in large measure, a problem of democratic leadership.  Perhaps.  [Walter] Lippmann’s presumption in 1922 . . . was that the national scale of politics, . . . was irreversible. But there is an alternative that stresses a different scale of politics—an alternative that understands the United States to be a public of publics, where robust local governance gives to each place a distinctive public character and wherein citizens can possess the knowledge necessary to deliberate together.”