How About A Left-Right Coalition Against the Corporate State?

I am encouraged to see this from the Left.  Kevin Drum writes, in response to a proposal for California state licensing of dog groomers:

What's unfortunate, I guess, is that this would all be unobjectionable if it were a voluntary certification program. If you want to pay more to take Fido to a certified groomer, go right ahead. If you want to save money, then don't. But critics are almost certainly right that a voluntary license would become a required license in pretty short order. After all, Vargas's proposal may be for a voluntary license right now, but that's only because he's failed to get support for a required license in the past.

What's more, if the program were voluntary I'm not sure why you'd need the state involved in the first place. If there's really a demand for this kind of certification, it seems likely that a trade association of some kind would set something up. And if there isn't, then why bother?

Right on!  I wish Drum would carry this same thinking further into other economic spheres (why are consumers powerful enough to handle dog grooming choices suddenly infantile when it comes to health care decisions) but I am encouraged none-the-less.  There is room, I think, for a left-right coalition against corporate cronyism (of which licensing is among the worst forms, helping to protect incumbent businesses against upstart competitors).  Unfortunately, such cronyism is so deeply ingrained in both Romney and Obama that it is certainly not going to happen in this election.


  1. Colin:

    There is some of this going in DC at the moment, where many lefties are up in arms over a proposal by the DC City Council to require the Uber sedan service to charge a minimum of $15 to customers, which is a transparent sop to the taxi industry. They've also gotten upset in the past over efforts to regulate food trucks. My guess, however, is that very few of them have gone on to rethink their knee-jerk opposition to deregulation.

  2. DoctorT:

    Sorry, but one instance of one left-wing blogger advocating a reduced scope for (state) government does not an alliance make.

    There has been a concerted effort to find commonality between libertarians and left-wingers (who call themselves liberals). The effort has been a complete failure. The few points of agreement are outweighed by thousands of points of disagreement.

  3. John Moore:

    I see conservatives starting to seriously object to the corporate state, and starting to realize (properly) that very large business organizations are often almost as dangerous as government departments - because they inevitably engage in rent-seeking.

    I see zero realization on the left that there is anything at all wrong with government, except the defense department which they have hated since Vietnam.

  4. ed:

    "one instance of one left-wing blogger"

    Well, there are at least two instances, since (as as alluded to by Drum) prominent liberal Matt Yglesias constantly harps on these issues. Far more than Mitt Romney or any prominent Republican I can think of.

    In fact, Romney seems to think that state and local government is just peachy! I think he's pretty backwards on this, and that state and local governments are far more messed up than even the federal government. Yglesias and our Coyote Blogger would probably agree on many or most of the state and local over-regulation type issues discussed on this blog.

  5. me:

    It is indeed encouraging when even somebody as as Kevin Drum can reason his way through this and present it as a public facing argument. And building consensus on issues such as these across party lines and actually stemming the tsunami of burdensome regulation is the first step to reduce nonsensical constraints, getting fewer of them passed and - potentially albeit unlikely - getting some of the larger zonkers repealed eventually. Let's hope we see any of that.

  6. Craig:

    Similarly, the left is against requiring Mississippi abortion doctors to be OB/GYNs with local hospital privileges. But if we were talking about any other medical procedure, they wouldn't hesitate to vote for this.

  7. Thane Eichenauer:

    Objections from the left to licensure if rare are all the more inspiring for their rarity. If one sprout can grow then two (or four or...) can.