I am encouraged to see this from the Left. Kevin Drum writes, in response to a proposal for California state licensing of dog groomers:
What's unfortunate, I guess, is that this would all be unobjectionable if it were a voluntary certification program. If you want to pay more to take Fido to a certified groomer, go right ahead. If you want to save money, then don't. But critics are almost certainly right that a voluntary license would become a required license in pretty short order. After all, Vargas's proposal may be for a voluntary license right now, but that's only because he's failed to get support for a required license in the past.
What's more, if the program were voluntary I'm not sure why you'd need the state involved in the first place. If there's really a demand for this kind of certification, it seems likely that a trade association of some kind would set something up. And if there isn't, then why bother?
Right on! I wish Drum would carry this same thinking further into other economic spheres (why are consumers powerful enough to handle dog grooming choices suddenly infantile when it comes to health care decisions) but I am encouraged none-the-less. There is room, I think, for a left-right coalition against corporate cronyism (of which licensing is among the worst forms, helping to protect incumbent businesses against upstart competitors). Unfortunately, such cronyism is so deeply ingrained in both Romney and Obama that it is certainly not going to happen in this election.