Soon the government shutdown will end and many Michiganders will return to work. But our lengthy pause has cost our state many jobs and businesses that will not return. And while this was in an effort to save lives, the economic suffering will continue even after the virus is gone. Due to the shutdown, many businesses have shut their doors or layed of workers, creating thousands of unemployed persons. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anyone who is telling you otherwise is either economically ignorant or dishonest. One solution to get Michigan Back to Work
With millions of unemployed needing to get back to work to feed their families and keep the lights on, Michigan’s government must get out of the way. One option is for Michigan to reform its occupational licensing. Other steps will be needed to re-ignite Michigan’s economy, but licensing reform would create opportunities for those finding themselves suddenly out of work and now looking for options. The Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm, issued a report that analyzed occupational licenses across the 50 states. They found that Michigan’s requirements were among some of the most restrictive in the Midwest. Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota has said that in Michigan, licensing rules cost 125,000 jobs and $2,700 per family, annually.
Today, more than 20 percent of Michigan workers are required to have a license. Needing a government permission slip to enter one out of five jobs in the state makes it hard for those out of work with the skills to provide a valuable service who don’t have the resources to go through the rigorous steps many occupational licenses require to obtain. Arbitrary and Ineffective Licensing Regulations Hurt Our Families
When most people think of “licensing,” they think of lawyers, doctors, and areas where health and safety is an issue. But many licensing schemes such as auctioneers, interior designers, hair braiders, and even frog farmers arose from the efforts of lobbyists. Many of Michigan’s regulations are arbitrary and unjust. Barbers and cosmetologists need more educational hours logged than lawyers. Carpenters, excavators and roofers need dozens of hours of training and must pay hundreds in licensing fees, while drywallers, fencers and pavers need none. EMTs and paramedics need a few hundred hours of training but athletic trainers need thousands. The evidence shows licensing standards don’t actually protect our health and safety – arguably the only reason the government should be involved. The 20 percent figure of Michigan’s workers requiring a license mentioned earlier, is up from around 5 percent in the 1950’s. Most of the expansion has been for middle and low income workers. Licensing favors insiders at the expense of new workers. Conclusion
Hard times are ahead in wake of the Coronavirus shutdown, that's just a fact. As we face what could be the greatest economic crisis in decades, we need more ways to get Michiganders back to work. Our current licensing system is arbitrary, ineffective, and needs reform. If elected, I would unwind these and other regulations that restrict our community and don’t provide benefits. We have a tough road ahead of us, even as we continue to battle COVID-19. Michiganders have proven our toughness time and time again. But let’s not make this harder than it needs to. Let’s remove burdensome regulations.