In Which I Agree with Barack Obama (Maybe)

Adam Ozimek reports on President Obama’s just-announced stand against occupational licensing:

While economists have long argued these regulations are a serious problem in need of attention, it’s something that gets way too little attention from politicians. But here is what the Obama administration is going to try to do about this:

The president’s budget, to be unveiled on Monday, will include $15 million for states to analyze the costs and benefits of their licensing rules, identify best practices and explore making licenses portable across state lines.

“We would like all states to ask whether licensing requirements meet a cost-benefit test,” said Betsey Stevenson of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Jeffrey Zients, who heads the National Economic Council, added, “Ultimately, a worker that can do the job should be able to get the job.”

The budget will also include $500 million to develop industry-recognized credentials that community colleges could teach to and employers could use for hiring, potentially reducing the need for state-sanctioned licenses in the future.

This is great news that the Obama administration is going to try to do something about this.

Occupational licensing amounts to little more than rent-seeking by established players in everything from medicine, to law, to beading hair — and it stinks.

The worry here is this White House’s instinct to centralize everything in Washington, particularly into the executive branch. Does Obama mean to end licensing, or does he mean to make the states jump through hoops to get federal approval to do what they’re already doing? Or is he looking for regulatory means of removing licensing from the states and to the federal government?

We just don’t know, but for now I’m willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, and the Coveted VodkaPundit Seal of Approval™.

For now.