Monthly Archives: January 2015

License to Shut Out

The Boston Globe recently discussed the well-established trend toward increasingly expensive professional licensure.

The demand for heavily regulated licensing to allow anyone to legally charge for almost any service: haircuts, medicine, legal defense — has the tradeoff of making these services more expensive, and thus unattainable for many.   Also, prohibitive barriers to entry, such as education and unpaid work experience, may be hurting the job prospects for otherwise able and willing Americans looking for work.

Hitting the sweet spot of maintaining standards for the public while creating availability of the service is an ongoing battle across most industries, especially since most professional associations set the requirements for industry entrance.  In the fall, the US Supreme Court heard a case from North Carolinians who wanted to offer teeth whitening without dental licenses.  The FTC decided the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners was guilty of antitrust since the dentists on board had a clear interest in limiting competition.

The SC has yet to decide the case, and ModCon can’t wait to hear the outcome and reasoning, since its result has the potential to affect the entire US labor market.

Down and Out in Mississippi

Two recent articles have compellingly documented the shortcomings of America’s poorest state.   “Mississippi, Burned: How the poorest, sickest state got left behind by Obamacare,” from Politico Magazine’s November/December 2014 issue, and “How White Flight Ravaged the Mississippi Delta,” in The Atlantic 1/6/15, both hint at a state that is stuck in time with de facto Jim Crow laws, rundown historic buildings, and good ole boy politics.

The writings’ intended effects of horror and concern are tough to avoid.  The end of plantation life left an economic void that has yet to be filled decades later, and no participant in mainstream political life could deny the  poverty and racism that result.

However, the articles predictably stop short of offering policy suggestions.  The state has fallen and stayed down for the very reason that its effects are so perfectly regional; until someone is able to satisfactorily draw the conclusion that Mississippi’s problems affect anyone besides Mississippians, every other state may be inwardly relieved is it not last in the major metrics of success.  This failure to answer why the reader should feel anything, beyond pity, represents a consistent missed opportunity committed by most of journalism.

Fascination with this state and a desire to revisit have become recent phenomena at the ModCon offices.  Antebellum Natchez had the most American millionaires per capita thanks to cotton, and one of Lady In Red’s close friends is planning to get married at one of Natchez’s famous mansions.

Bottom line: until national political pressure cleans out the current political leadership, which represents the worst and most unintelligent of Republicanism in its reluctance to accept contemporary reality, MS will remain a quaint and mysterious place to visit — with little appeal to livlihood.

The famous Longwood house.
The famous Longwood octagonal house.