FINAL UPDATE: On October 15, 2013, the Benedictine monks of Saint Joseph Abbey won their final victory over the State of Louisiana and the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the morticians’ petition for certiorari and let stand the monks’ decisive win in the lower federal courts.
Occupational licensing—like all government meddling—continues to prevent more and more Americans from earning an honest living. In the 19th century, few barriers existed to prevent a person from pursuing an occupation. By the early 1950s, about 4.5 percent of occupations required a government-issued license. In 2000, the number of licensed occupations ran from a low of 47 in Kansas, all the way to 178 occupations in California. By 2009, the percentage of American jobs that required the government’s blessing was about 29 percent.
Licensing legislation is sought—not by the consumers it purports to protect—but by the doctors, lawyers and funeral directors that are regulated by it. It’s a racket designed to transfer money to those who gain the legislature’s ear. Continue reading