Regulation should protect consumers, not stifle competition

Patrick Gibbons

Nevada's interior-design laws prohibit unlicensed interior designers from operating in Nevada. Ostensibly, the law was passed to protect consumer safety and health. It sounds plausible. After all, we're always hearing about new regulations put in place to protect consumer health and safety.  However, we find no trace of Nevada citizens being maimed or killed by unlicensed interior designers before this law was passed.

Nevada's licensing requirements for interior designers don't actually protect the consumer, but they do protect the profits of a government-sanctioned, throw-pillow cartel.

The Institute for Justice released a report in February titled "Designed to Exclude," which found that interior-design laws that restricted competition to only those government-sanctioned designers resulted in higher prices for consumers, more complaints on average and the exclusion of blacks, Hispanics and the elderly from the field of interior design.

Basically, the law helped rich white people earn more profits by excluding minorities and the elderly. That sounds familiar — teacher certification laws also turn away qualified minorities, keeping the profession extremely white in Nevada.

This video highlights some of the absurdity with these laws. So why can President Obama hire an unlicensed interior designer for the White House, while regular Joes out in Nevada have to pay for over-priced, white designers?

It is time for this, and many other, regulations and licensing requirements to be terminated. They don't often help anyone, but they sure do protect businesses from competition.