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Rabbits, Newspaper Columns And Regulation

“You’re telling me I can kill the rabbit right in front of you,” Hahne says he asked an inspector, “but I can’t take it across the street to the birthday party” without a license? Also, the law applies only to warmblooded animals. If Hahne were pulling an iguana out of his hat — no license required.

Now, he needs both a license and a disaster plan.

Washington Post, July 16, 2013

If you haven’t read about the saga of Marty the Magician and his rabbit then treat yourself to this article from the Washington Post. Marty, you see, uses a rabbit as a prop in his magic act (big surprise!) and was busted several years ago by the USDA for not having a license for said rabbit. Like all good American’s he uttered a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and then dutifully secured his license. Think the Feds were done with him? Not a chance. Enjoy the story.

While we’re on the subject of regulatory overkill, you might want to check out this story from the WSJ. It’s a piece on the use of occupational licensing requirements to prevent people from offering advice in print. The case in point concerns a chap by the name of John Rosemond who is a licensed family psychologist in North Carolina and writes a syndicated new column which appears in over 200 newspapers. One of those newspapers is in Kentucky and the state has advised Mr. Rosemond to cease and desist as he is offering advice to Kentuckians whilst not being licensed to do so in that state. This is apparently an issue not unique to Kentucky as other states are enforcing similar laws on a variety of authors.

Aside from the absurdity of the Kentucky issue, the use of occupational licenses to restrict entrance into various professions has grown like Topsy. The Journal points out that nearly one in three occupations today require licenses. At one time some requirements for professional certification certainly made sense and no doubt there are still reasons for licensing in some areas. I, for one, want the surgeon to be well schooled and vetted by his peers. Too often, though, occupational licensing is now employed as rent seeking, a means to restrict competition. There’s no reason to license someone to cut a head of hair, polish some fingernails or write a syndicated advice column.

The pettifoggery exhibited towards Marty the Magician,  John Rosemond and countless others are a dead weight burden we can’t afford economically and shouldn’t have to simply as a matter of personal liberty.

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