A good Economist column about run-amok licensing in aesthetic personal services offers the example of hair-braiding in Utah:
Jestina Clayton is an African hair-braider with 23 years of experience. But the Utah Barber, Cosmetologist/Barber, Esthetician, Electrologist and Nail Technician Licensing Board told her that she cannot practise her craft unless she first obtains a licence — which means spending up to $18,000 on 2,000 hours of study, none of it devoted to African hair-braiding.
The column ends by noting the failure of a bill to relax this sort of thing in Florida “despite” the recent election of a cavalcade of rightwing politicians there. But of course there’s very little that’s surprising about this. Not only is interest group support for irrational licensing strong, but there’s no particular “rich people get more money” angle in pushing deregulation. It’s a nice thing to talk about and a good example of how big government isn’t always on the side of the little guy, but there’s meager incentive to do anything about it.