The saga of a Middleville woman investigated by the state Department of Human Services for the crime of keeping an eye on some neighbors’ kids as they waited for the school bus has gone national after having been all over the blogosphere for days.

Maybe the attention will shed some light on the false promise of “licensure” as a way of protecting the public. In fact, in almost every case licensing laws are promoted by the professionals who will be subject to them for the purpose of limiting competition. The Mackinac Center published an article on this a while back that explains.

Incidentally, some of these things get positively predatory, like the one passed at the behest of large auto dealers in 2004 that put hundreds of their home-based competitors out of business. The laws are becoming quite draconian as well, in some cases authorizing substantial prison sentences practicing a particular profession without a license. 

Every year dozens of new bills are introduced in the legislature expanding or imposing new licensure mandates; recent targets include fire sprinkler installers, people who hold retail “gold parties” in their homes, parking lots – any activity where some group of “incumbent providers” would like to limit competition.