Obama and Koch Brothers Agree Occupational Licensing Restricts Opportunity

GranatelliGraceCanineMassageTherapist2016-07-11.jpg“Grace Granatelli, a certified canine massage therapist. In 2013, Arizona’s Veterinary Medical Examining Board demanded that she close up shop for medically treating animals without a veterinary degree.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. B1) SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — “I usually start behind the neck,” Grace Granatelli said from her plump brown sofa. “There’s two pressure points back behind the ears that help relax them a little bit.” In her lap, she held the head of Sketch, her mixed beagle rat terrier, as her fingers traced small circles through his fur.

Ms. Granatelli, whose passion for dogs can be glimpsed in the oil portrait of her deceased pets and the bronzed casts of their paws, started an animal massage business during the recession after taking several courses and workshops. Her primary form of advertising was her car, with its “K9 RUBS” license plate and her website, Pawsitive Touch, stenciled onto her rear window.
But in 2013, Arizona’s Veterinary Medical Examining Board sent her a cease-and-desist order, demanding that she close up shop for medically treating animals without a veterinary degree. If not, the board warned, every Swedish doggy massage she completed could cost her a $1,000 fine.
To comply with the ruling and obtain a license, Ms. Granatelli would have to spend about $250,000 over four years at an accredited veterinary school. None require courses in massage technique; many don’t even offer one.
. . .
(p. B5) The Obama administration and the conservative political network financed by the Koch brothers don’t agree on much, but the belief that the zeal among states for licensing all sorts of occupations has spiraled out of control is one of them. In recent months, they have collaborated with an array of like-minded organizations and political leaders in a bid to roll back licensing rules.
. . .
. . . the current mishmash of requirements is too often “inconsistent, inefficient, and arbitrary,” a White House report concluded last year. Many of them, the report said, have little purpose other than to protect those already in the field from further competition.
. . .
Only rarely are licensing requirements removed. Last month, though, Arizona agreed to curb them for yoga teachers, geologists, citrus fruit packers and cremationists.
But dozens more professions escaped the ax. “Arizona is perceived as a low-regulatory state, but this was the most difficult bill we worked on this session,” said Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for the Republican governor, Douglas Ducey.
Licensing boards are generally dominated by members of the regulated profession. And in Arizona, more than two dozen of the boards are allowed to keep 90 percent of their fees, turning over a mere 10 percent of the revenue to the state.
“They use that money to hire contract lobbyists and P.R. people,” Mr. Scarpinato said. “This is really a dark corner of state government.”
They are often joined in their campaign by lobbyists from industry trade associations and for-profit colleges, which sell the required training courses.

For the full story, see:
PATRICIA COHEN. “Horse Rub? Where’s Your License?” The New York Times (Sat., JUNE 18, 2016): B1 & B5.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date JUNE 17, 2016, and has the title “Moving to Arizona Soon? You Might Need a License.”)

The White House report mentioned above, is:
The White House. “Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policy Makers.” July 2015.

$10,000 Universal Income Would Reduce Work and Cost Taxpayers Trillions

(p. B4) This month [June 2016], Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute will publish an updated version of his plan to replace welfare as we know it with a dollop of $10,000 in after-tax income for every American above the age of 21.
. . .
Its first hurdle is arithmetic. As Robert Greenstein of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put it, a check of $10,000 to each of 300 million Americans would cost more than $3 trillion a year.
Where would that money come from? It amounts to nearly all the tax revenue collected by the federal government. Nothing in the history of this country suggests Americans are ready to add that kind of burden to their current taxes. Cut it by half to $5,000?
. . .
As Lawrence H. Summers, the former Treasury secretary and onetime top economic adviser to President Obama, told me, paying a $5,000 universal basic income to the 250 million nonpoor Americans would cost about $1.25 trillion a year. . . .
The popularity of the universal basic income stems from a fanciful diagnosis born in Silicon Valley of the challenges faced by the working class across industrialized nations: one that sees declining employment rates and stagnant wages and concludes that robots are about to take over all the jobs in the world.
. . .
Work, as Lawrence Katz of Harvard once pointed out, is not just what people do for a living. It is a source of status. It organizes people’s lives. It offers an opportunity for progress. None of this can be replaced by a check.
A universal basic income has many undesirable features, starting with its non-negligible disincentive to work. Almost a quarter of American households make less than $25,000. It would be hardly surprising if a $10,000 check each for mom and dad sapped their desire to work.
. . .
As Mr. Summers told a gathering last week at the Brookings Institution, “a universal basic income is one of those ideas that the longer you look at it, the less enthusiastic you become.”

For the full commentary, see:
Porter, Eduardo. “ECONOMIC SCENE; Plan to End Poverty Is Wide of the Target.” The New York Times (Weds., June 1, 2016): B1 & B4.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date MAY 31, 2016, and has the title “ECONOMIC SCENE; A Universal Basic Income Is a Poor Tool to Fight Poverty.”)

The Role of Steve Jobs in the Creation of Pixar

(p. B4) . . . [a] book that isn’t out yet (until November [2016]): “To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History” by Lawrence Levy, the former chief financial officer of Pixar. What a delightful book about the creation of Pixar from the inside. I learned more about Mr. Jobs, Pixar and business in Silicon Valley than I have in quite some time. And like a good Pixar film, it’ll put a smile on your face.

For the full commentary, see:
Sorkin, Andrew Ross. “DEALBOOK; Tell-Alls, Strategic Plans and Cautionary Tales.” The New York Times (Tues., JULY 5, 2016): B1 & B4.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed word and year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date JULY 4, 2016, and has the title “DEALBOOK; A Reading List of Tell-Alls, Strategic Plans and Cautionary Tales in Finance.”)

The book praised by Sorkin in the passage quoted above, is:
Levy, Lawrence. To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.