'These anticompetitive regulations can't be so bad -- existing businesses like them!' 

In Florida, you may not practice interior design without a license. You also can't get paid to help someone book a vacation without a state-issued license. There are dozens of licensing regulations in the state that kill entrepreneurship and drive up costs.

Chip Mellor of the Institute for Justice has a Forbes article telling of Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to repeal this needless harmful regulations.

But the Sun-Sentinel newspaper opposes Scott's effort:

Florida's Realtors don't want it. Neither do the representatives of auto mechanics, geologists, mobile home owners, travel agents and scores of other professional groups. Even Walt Disney World jumped into the fray.

Unfortunately, the hue and cry from those professional groups and industries some state lawmakers mistakenly think would benefit from deregulation haven't yet registered with those legislators who confuse regulations with red tape.

But of course the incumbent businesses aren't the ones who are supposed to benefit from this deregulation bill -- they are the ones unjustly benefitting from Florida's regulations. Mellor tells of the lobbying effort:

the designers' cartel has hired a high-powered lobbyist to wage an aggressive PR campaign to remove interior design from the should-be deregulated industries. Among other efforts, the cartel bused in interior design students to Tallahassee from across the state to tell legislators that their degrees would become "worthless" if other people could freely practice interior design in Florida the way they can in 47 other states. One designer claimed that allowing just anyone to practice interior design would contribute to 88,000 deaths annually because of poor fabric selection.

The Sun-Sentinel's editorial is pretty absurd, but it fits a standard template of journalists and politicians pointing to the businesses that profit from Big Government subsidies and regulatory robbery, and saying "look, even industry likes the regulation, so it must be good."

Gail Collins of the New York Times basically did this with light bulbs recently. The Center for American Progress did this on climate change. And President Obama did it when he said, "even the drug companies" were on board with ObamaCare.

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Timothy P. Carney

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