From lemonade stands to braiding hair, these days, the government tries to make you get a license for everything.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: So, when you think of licenses, and I’m asking this to our listeners, you know, what, what, what do people think of, for me, I think a driver’s license is the only order. Pilot’s license. I don’t know. What do you think about it?

Emma: Definitely, a driver’s license comes up first.

Brittany: That’s, yeah. That, I think that’s the most common.

Emma: One that I deal with in my normal life.

Brittany: Well, you had to get a marriage license right when you got married. Which is.

Emma: Oh, yeah. That’s true, which is crazy.

Brittany: Which, yeah, I was gonna say, which gets into the theme of our show today, which is why on earth do we need so many licenses for everything, you know? And we’re gonna get into some of the Emma just mentioned, we just talked about the marriage license, so I don’t know. Well, most of you probably don’t know this ’cause you’re not married. But you have to apply for a license. You get it the same day. It’s not like a big strenuous thing, but it’s still ridiculous. And I believe in Utah, I had to pay like $35 for a license. That is basically the government giving you permission to get married. Yeah. Which is crazy if you think about it because there were times when the government wouldn’t let you. Like if you the husband was black and the wife was white, they wouldn’t let you get married. So they could have literally denied you a marriage license. So it might seem like, oh, it’s just a silly thing you have to do. But back in the day, it was not so silly. It was very scary. So let’s talk about some silly things you need licensing for. So my favorite, well, actually I’m gonna back up before I say my favorite one. Connor was able to get a law passed that, I don’t think it took away licenses completely, but it made them where they didn’t cost anything. Cause they used to make kids get licenses for lemonade stands.

Emma: So, ridiculous.

Brittany: So ridiculous. So you have your neighborhood lemonade stands, some kids just wanna make some money and learn how to be entrepreneurs. And then they get in trouble. Police officers were actually busting them, getting them in trouble ’cause they didn’t have a license. So, silly. So the one that I really, it just, it makes me laugh, but it also makes me sad, is that you have to have a license to shampoo someone’s hair. So like, like in a salon, you know, you usually have somebody who washes your hair before you cut it. Sometimes it’s the same person, but I know where I go. It’s not. So that person needs to earn a living. They need to do what they need to do to put food on the table just like everybody else. But most states have laws that make them pay to get a license and to get the license. Sometimes they have to take like, it’s like hundreds of hours worth of champagne training. You know, and it’s like.

Emma: Yeah, thousands of dollars too.

Brittany: And thousands of dollars every, and these are entry-level jobs, meaning some of these people don’t have like a college education. It’s not that you need one, but they don’t have any, you know, any other stable career path. So it’s very sad and it’s just silly because I wash my hair every, well, not every day, but, you know, everybody washes their, they know how to wash their hair. It’s not that hard. And it’s crazy to me that they would say like, oh, you need to do this. And their reasons are usually like because that we need to make sure that we keep people safe. The government wants to say this a lot with everything. You know, we need to make sure that this person shampooing your hair isn’t risking, you know, the customer’s safety. And I keep thinking the only thing that could really go wrong is like maybe getting shampoo in your eye. And even with a license, I don’t see how that would be like, that might happen every now and then. So it’s so silly. So I thought we could talk about today some of the most ridiculous things you need a license for. So I’m gonna kick it to you now, Emma. What’s one of your ridiculous ones?

Emma: I mean, a big one that I think of is to be a florist. Like, so someone who does flower arrangements, if you’ve ever gone to a wedding or a big fancy event or even, you know, if your parents have ever just brought home flowers for any reason, then they have worked with a florist. And to me, this is super crazy. There’s actually a court case, or not, maybe not a court case, but it’s some sort of legal battle going on not too far from where I live far. And it’s, the Institute for Justice is helping the people doing the case, they do some sort of legal free work for people who are being targeted by the government or unfairly, have these laws put on them. I’m not doing a good job explaining what they do, but they’re very cool. And this guy opened up a flower truck. So it was during COVID and he was having a hard time getting permits through in this county in Georgia, and they wouldn’t give him permits for a food truck. So he was like, all right, I’ll open a mobile flower truck instead to help brighten people’s days because it’s COVID and everyone’s upset. And so he kept trying to go through all of the processes to get the permits. He was actually like doing the proper process and all of this stuff. And the government basically just told him, we’re not gonna give you this permit, even though the law says that we have to. And even though you have everything you need, so now there’s gonna be a whole legal thing surrounding it. And hopefully, he’s able to open his flower truck. But I just find that so silly and like honestly offensive that the government is like, you need a license to cut and arrange flowers and put them in a vase for someone else. Like how silly have things gotten when we cannot pay someone to give us like a pretty base of flowers without having the government involved? I just think that’s so absurd. So that’s one of my,  favorite slash least favorite, crazy permitting requirements.

Brittany: Yes. That one is definitely ridiculous. And so the next one, I’m on a hair kick today. The next one is braiding hair, which I find also just absurd. And I know Utah actually got, I think, I know there was a case, I don’t remember the outcome, but I’m pretty sure it was good. I hope it was good.

Emma: It was, yes.

Brittany: There was. Okay, good. Because I think Libertas worked on it. There was a lady and she’s from, I don’t remember which country in Africa, but she likes to do a very specific kind of African braid that you can’t really take class on. In fact, there are no classes here you can take to teach you this. It’s something that’s passed down. And she did this, these beautiful braids. And so she was just doing that out of her home. You know, when people wanted their hair braided, they’d come over and she would do that. And then somehow someone found out and she was told that she needed to stop until she got a license. But the funny thing is, so I told you that sometimes they require you to take hundreds of hours worth of classes and pay to take those classes. Well, the classes they were telling her she needed to take, none of them taught the kind of braiding she did.

Emma: Of course.

Brittany: So they literally were not doing anything for her. So they were just penalizing her because she didn’t go through the proper channel. She didn’t get what the government told her to get. And it’s just so outrageous. And I believe yes, she did win. Right. She, I believe they changed that law.

Emma: I believe so. If we’re thinking of the same case. Yeah.

Brittany: Yes. So, and that was, that ended up being a great thing, obviously. And, before we go on, I wanna mention part of the reason people do this, and it’s to protect protectionism. There’re already existing agencies. Yeah. So let’s say there’s another hair braider, but let’s say she doesn’t do the African braiding. She doesn’t like maybe that this new person is coming in and taking some of her clients and instead of maybe hiring a new somebody who does the same kind of braiding, she’s just like, no, I’m gonna use the government to stop new competition from entering the market. So the only reason these exist, is it’s not about health and it’s not about safety. They exist because people wanna protect their own industries. It would be like if I had a lemonade stand and Emma, you had one or wanted to open one in the next street over. And I was like, oh no, no, you’ve gotta get a license. Cause this is like my turf. It’s basically saying like, I don’t want you to harm my business. Yeah. So it’s just very ridiculous. So I think we have time for a few more. Emma, do you wanna share another one?

Emma: Yeah, totally. What, real quick before we move on that note? When Connor and his team at Bertus was working on a law to actually allow more people to do stuff like hair and makeup and things like that without a license, there were all of these protesters that showed up and they were licensed cosmetologists who were basically, you know, playing right into that argument that you just mentioned, Brittany, they were saying, we had to go to school, we had to pay for all of this, so you should too. Which kind of reminds me of when people say like, oh, I had to go to college and get this crummy job and I had to, you know, pay my way through or whatever. So it should be the same way for you. Same. And it’s like this funny argument of like, I had to do this, so you should have to do it also. But anyway, moving on. I think one of the silliest ones is to be a travel agent in a lot of places.

Brittany: Which really Does that even exist? I guess there are actually, I know a travel agent.

Emma: Yeah, I know of one travel agent and she works for like a nonprofit company, so she’s kind of like a corporate travel agent. But this is something very few people.

Brittany: That makes sense.

Emma: Even do any more for a living. Like, you don’t hear about it too much. And the fact that the government requires someone to get a special license just to like book flights and hotels and stuff is pretty ridiculous. And then also another one that is crazy is in New Jersey you have to have a permit to pump gas, which is funny ’cause in most states you pump your own gas. I grew up in Oregon, which is actually I think the only other state like New Jersey where you can’t pump your own wait.

Brittany: Completely? I didn’t know that.

Emma: Yeah. But yeah, it was super weird. So when I moved out of Oregon and moved away, I had to like figure it out and it was super intimidating. But yeah. So in New Jersey, you have to have a license to pump gas, which is just crazy. Talk about protectionism that is like ultimate, not only we don’t let you pump your gas, but we also are gonna make whoever pumps it have a license that’s just like, it’s hard to like double

Brittany: Yeah, double.

Emma: Anything silly than that. Yeah.

Brittany: Well, I have what this is, I’m gonna end on or share my absolute, this one just gets me every time. And that is, you have to have a license to sell coffins. And here is why this one makes me giggle so much. So a lot of people say, you know, it’s for your health and your safety. We can’t let this person braid your hair or shampoo their hair. They might harm you. You might get germs, you make it sick, you might die. Who is a coffin salesman harming with his work is what I wanna know. Because if you’re going to a coffin salesman, odds are you are already, dead. So you don’t really need that. So that is really, really funny to me. That one might be the funniest one. Wow. Because I don’t understand what it is about me a Coffman or a coffin salesman that would make you really need to get that government license. But that’s how it is. And these are just, I mean, we’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg with these, there’s one that’s really silly where to be a packager. And by that, I mean like to package things for Amazon, you have to have a license to do people’s makeup to rearrange furniture, like to be an interior designer. There’s so many silly things. And what it comes down to is people using the government to protect their own businesses instead of wanting to compete in the free market. So it’s, it’s just really nuts.

Emma: Yeah, it is really nuts. And I’m sure that there are a million other things that require licenses that we didn’t even talk about today. So if you guys have a favorite silly one that you’ve come across, feel free to send that into us. We would love to hear about it. But that is where we’re gonna wrap it up today. Guys, thank you so much for listening and we’ll talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you soon.