A scathing editorial (subscription required) in the Wall Street Journal looks at the American Society of Interior Designers' efforts to "cartelize" the interior design industry by making it a crime to practice interior decorating without a license. Alabama's state supreme court recently struck down a law making it illegal to offer decorating advice without a license, but several states actually do have similar laws.
Attorney Clark Neily argues that "If there were any credible evidence that unregulated interior design presents a genuine risk to consumers, ASID would certainly have found it by now. They have had plenty of time (more than three decades), resources (dues for ASID's 40,000 members average several hundred dollars per year), and incentive. Furthermore, despite ASID's best efforts, only three states regulate the practice of interior design. That leaves 47 (including California and New York) where the ravages of unlicensed interior design could be easily documented -- if there were any. So what is really behind ASID's relentless push for more regulation? Simple: naked economic protectionism."
This is fascinating. Under-trained and unlicensed mortgage salesmen wreaked havoc on our national econonomy as they "helped" people make the biggest investments of their lives -- and some states were actually devoting resources to cracking down on people who were picking out throw pillows without a license while that happened.
I wonder what our founding fathers who fought a war for personal liberty and less intrusive government would have to say about a state licensing exam for decorating.
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