"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Resurrected from the dead, trade guilds suffocate the U.S. economy through occupational regulation

In May of 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics has published a remarkable article about efforts in states toward de-licensing (deregulation) of professions.

The article compared licensing of occupations and professions with trade-union collective bargaining to fix and raise income of union members and stated that the issue of job growth and factors preventing job growth (such as occupational regulation and licensing) has become lately an issue of national importance.

It is also remarkable that de-licensing met with resistance of the licensed professions and not consumers, and that practically all efforts at de-licensing were defeated by market-player lobbyists for the "self-regulated" guilds which was definitely not in the interests of consumers. 

One of the described efforts to deregulate, a House Bill 1006 of 2012 in the State of Indiana, that was seeking to eliminate mandatory licensing for barbers and cosmetologists, as well as for dieticians, hearing aid dealers, PIs, and security guards, was quickly dubbed the "right to work for less" bill - which pinpoints exactly the purpose of occupational licensing to cut off competition and raise prices for services, not, as it is declared for purposes of licensing, to protect health, safety and well-being of consumers.

So, while consumers continue to hurt, while labor market in the U.S. continues to deteriorate and people who can earn their own living continue to be unable to find suitable jobs in the heavily regulated job market, those who already have regulated jobs are resisting entry of competitors into the labor market - to the detriment of consumers and without any regard to any consumers' well-being.

Yet, as I reported on this blog, the situation in the job market may be becoming so critical in terms of contributing to income disparity that causes social unrest that deregulation will be at some point mandated as a matter of national safety.

I think, we are moving in that direction since the article already reported that over 30% of the U.S. work force is in regulated jobs, that occupational regulation is killing small business, preventing geographic and upwards (income) mobility, increases costs of services to consumers while reducing variety and supply of such services - and the lobbying efforts to increase rather than decrease occupational regulation are coming from the regulated professions, clearly showing "who benefits".

It is time for consumers of various services from currently regulated professions, on the one hand, and those who cannot enter the labor market and properly provide for themselves and their families because of restraints through occupational regulation that has nothing to do with protection of consumers, on the other hand, to demand, through lawsuits or pressure on their elected public officials:

  • to start aggressive legislative audits of all regulated professions on the subject of 
  • whether the declared purpose of consumer protection is actually what happens in the regulated profession, or is the main actual purpose of such regulation, per each regulation profession, is establishing "a right to work for more" in the regulated jobs, and protection of consumers be d**d, well, kissed good-bye.

The history of occupational regulation shows that economical development in Europe flourished when city and town guild systems were torn down.

Such guild systems are now resurrected from the dead and are suffocating the U.S. labor market, and one does not need a crystal ball to predict that social unrest may ensue, soon, if the government continues to allow interest groups to derail efforts at de-regulation or at least at auditing whether occupational regulation helps or hurts consumers - and the U.S. economy.

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