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National Review on Oregon’s Moving Company Cartel

National Review has a short article by Kevin D. Williamson in this week’s issue about the sad state of occupational-licensing laws; as an example, it uses the case of Adam Sweet, a PSU student whose moving company was shut down by the state because he didn’t have a “Oregon Intrastate Certificate to Transport Household Goods or Passengers.” I wrote about Sweet’s case here and more recently here.

Sorry, the NR article is behind a subscription wall, so I can’t link to it, but I do have a handy-dandy print copy. Here’s some of the text:

Adam Sweet is an Oregon college student who organized some friends into a moving business with a specialty in medical clinics. Alan Merrifield is a Californian who ran a pest-control business free of chemicals and poisons. Both were shut down by occupational-licensing laws that largely serve to protect entrenched business interests while doing little or nothing to protect the public.

Licensure laws make it difficult to start a business or pursue one part time. If you turn a buck from your knack for planting rosebushes or arranging their flowers, you could find yourself fined and jailed for practicing unlicensed landscape architecture or outlaw floristry. […]

In the cases of Sweet and Merrifield, challenges from the Pacific Legal Foundation forced authorities to admit what everybody knows: These laws exist mostly to protect politically connected businesses.

The city of Eugene has it’s own ignominious history with occupational-licensing laws. For example, back in the day it tried to fine David “Frog” Miller, who sells self-published jokebooks on the sidewalk, because he didn’t have a street vendor license. Frog claimed the city was violating his First Amendment rights and took it to court – all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court. And he won.

In the process, the city of Eugene spent thousands of dollars in legal costs trying to enforce a $25 ticket. That, for the record, is the funniest joke Frog has ever come up with. Here’s hoping Sweet’s case goes just as well.

  1. Betz says:

    Go Figure …Never knew that one. Chalk one up for the Frogster.

  2. C.T. Behemoth says:

    That IS a funny joke…one I had never heard. THANK YOU.

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