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Moving in Missouri

By Matthew Yglesias on March 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm

"Moving in Missouri"

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From the neoliberal claptrap files:

It goes against his business instincts and defies common sense, but it’s the law. Munie’s company, ABC Quality Moving of south St. Louis County, can handle household moves within the St. Louis area, or he can move you from here to, say, Los Angeles. But he can’t move a family from St. Louis to another part of Missouri. Three years ago, ABC applied for a permit to operate statewide. As part of the process, the companies that already hold such permits had to be asked whether they needed any new competition. Not surprisingly, they said no, and ABC had to withdraw its application.

Something to note about these kind of abusive licensing laws is that they’re increasingly becoming the subjects of litigation by libertarian groups. A number of people have suggested to me that the groups in question are basically doing a good job of finding sympathetic plaintiffs to try to entrench pernicious legal precedents that will block regulations that are actually necessary or important. That may well be the case, and if it’s true it seems to me that it heightens the case that progressives should pay more attention to these things. The principle that the state needs the authority to regulate private business becomes easier to sustain (both politically and legally) if legislators move proactively to scrutinize these kind of things.

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