Conservatism I Can Believe In

The Florida right-wing is finally indulging some of my more conservative policy preferences:

A controversial bill that would deregulate 20 professions and industries passed the House on Thursday by a vote of 77 to 38. The bill ends oversight for everything from auctioneers and interior designers to hair braiders, intrastate movers, auto repair shops, telemarketers and charitable organizations. Opponents say HB 5005 is a threat to consumer protection.

This is right on. There’s precious little evidence that this kind of registration and licensing achieves anything consumer protection-wise. Conservatives probably aren’t interested in this, but I’d be happy to see just about any state beef up its spending on generic enforcement of laws against fraud. That’s the right way to the threat of a bum auctioneer or auto repair shop. Also note that one of the good things about ongoing advances in information technology is that they allow these kind of markets to operate more efficiently. There are serious asymmetrical information problems with the auto repair industry that licensing regulations fail in practice to resolve. Things like website where people can review service providers, by contrast, actually help us advance somewhat on that front.