Snipping Away at Regulation: Georgia's Proposal to Deregulate Beauty Services
Should Barbers Be Regulated? Georgia State Is About to Decide.
A contentious debate has emerged in Georgia over Senate Bill 354, which would significantly deregulate the beauty service industry in the state. The proposed legislation, which would eliminate certain requirements for services including nails, makeup, hairstyling, and others, has sparked an outcry on both sides of the argument.
However, from a liberty perspective, the choice is clear: One should not have to ask the government for permission to go into these professions.
State Sen. Larry Walker III defended the bill, noting clear inconsistencies in how it addresses the matter.
"A makeup professional working in a retail environment is not required to have a license, if they are working on a film set they are not required to have a license, but if they want to open a business, they are required to have a cosmetology license. That doesn’t make sense to me."
Walker’s remarks illustrate the arbitrary barriers to entry that are all too common when the government involves itself in commerce. It does more to stifle economic opportunity and innovation than it does to protect people.
Moroever, deregulating this industry will allow the market to self-regulate. Consumers can choose whether they wish to purchase the services of someone who has not gone to cosmetology school or attained certain levels of certification. Walker nailed it when he pointed out that “there’s no evidence that these services are any less safe” in states without such stringent licensing schemes.
"And if I go somewhere and get burned, well, I'm not going back. I mean, let's talk about personal accountability.”
Walker also points to the concept of personal accountability, noting that if he uses a professional’s services and gets “burned,” he won’t go back. This provides all the incentive needed for a professional in this industry to ensure that they are offering a valuable and safe service.
Lastly, it is worth noting that getting rid of onerous licensing requirements would address the issue of elitism and protectionism in these professions. Some opposing the law argued that they “put in their time, and they want the nnext person to have to put in theirs.”
Yet, this ignores the reality that they should not have been compelled to obtain the licenses in the first place. The argument is akin to becoming angry that a thief stole more from you than your neighbor. The bottom line is that the theft should never have happened.
Putting these requirements into place only makes it harder for those who cannot afford to go through the trainings necessary to obtain their licenses. Why should they be barred from practicing their craft because of arbitrary requirements that do not actually keep people safe? Doing away with these needless barriers would promote more competition and a more robust economy.
Of course, as I alluded to earlier, this bill would not necessarily stop people from pursuing different types of certifications while plying their trade. If anything, they can use these programs as a selling point to potential customers who might favor using a professional who has had a level of training. Voluntary industry standards can still be a thing — and perhaps even more beneficial to professionals seeking to compete.
In conclusion, the debate over Senate Bill 354 in Georgia encapsulates broader questions about the role of government in regulating professions, the balance between public safety and economic freedom, and the best means to ensure quality and professionalism in the marketplace.
From a liberty perspective, the arguments for deregulating certain beauty services rest on principles of economic freedom, personal accountability, and opposition to protectionist barriers, suggesting that a move towards less restrictive regulations could benefit both professionals and consumers in the state.
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