Licensing – Really?


Licensing is a government formality employed for the mandated purpose of allowing an individual, or business to operate legally within the parameters of the system, and failure to do so will result in legal sanctions that can include restrictions on one’s function for livelihood, freedom, fines, incarceration and/or public service.

Typically, in order to receive a license, the absolute minimum that is required is the payment of  a fee.  The fee has to be paid to a government agency which employs people for the purpose of taking the payment, processing it, qualifying the applicant, and then approving the applicant for a particular license – that is, permission to practice your trade or move freely within the world you live.

In the case of a driver’s “license”, that affects just about everyone, and anyone who has applied has seen the ineptness and cumbersome aspects of the process.  It requires a few hours of your time hanging around some often very unsavory people.  You have to pass a test.  You have to stand in line and wait around.  You have to be supervised by a government agent who rides with you and grades you on specific criteria you must meet in order to receive the license, and finally after all of that, they take a lot of personal information and document things like your finger print, picture, retinal scan etc.  For that, you get to pay a fee for all of that pleasure and use of your time.  Then you walk out with a temporary license if you passed muster, and you wait for a permanent license to come in the mail within a week or two.  You are also mandated to have license plate, and automotive insurance (two other forms of licensing), although if you are an illegal alien, you can usually get away with sidestepping that requirement.

All that creates a very false impression that drivers are qualified to drive and to drive safely and intelligently.  Then you get out on the road and you see reckless driving, careless driving, drunk driving (DUI which can include drugs as well as liquor), distracted driving, rude driving, driving poorly maintained vehicles and so on.  Occasionally, the police will spot someone performing behind a defective wheel, or performing defectively behind the wheel as the case may be, but that is a small percentage of the whole picture, and so the bulk of the time of policing is responding to accidents after the fact.  Generally, drunk drivers go to court, pay a fine, and then they are back on the street in short order, and the lawyer defending them and the courts are just a little richer for the fee and fine they pay.  Usually, it’s only after a drunk driver kills someone that he actually loses his license and does a little jail time.  So much for the fallacious mantra of “To Serve and Protect”.

If, that were the only licensing requirement, we would be in pretty good shape, but wait! Revenue generation is  a major criteria for governments to sustain and expand themselves and their reach.  So, we have doctors who are licensed, and of course lawyers are there to conduct malpractice suits for the licensed doctors who screw up.  Then there are licenses for contractors.  My brother lived in a high rise condo in which a licensed contractor failed to secure the brick fascia to the super structure of the building, and so it was falling away from the building, and had it collapsed, at the very least, it would have destroyed several trees and cars below, and if a person were below, they would have died for sure.  Fortunately to the tune of around a million dollars in 2002 dollars, the problem was fixed, and the guilty contractor is probably still out there licensed and performing poorly, but the government has their licensing fees from the contractor.  So all is well – right?  Hospitals have to be licensed as well, and of course, not too long ago, a major hospital was cited for using surgical equipment that was not properly sterilized leading to major infections for many patients.  But, they were licensed – so all is well – right?

The bottom line is this; licensing is first and foremost a revenue generator for governments.  Secondly it is a vehicle for increasing the number of people who work for the government in jobs where they get paid more than people in the private sector do while doing an inferior job and never being subject to being fired as is the case in the private sector when someone fails to perform in an adequate and proper fashion.  Thirdly, licensing is a vehicle for the purpose of meddling in the private affairs of individuals and businesses to the point of influencing how they run their lives or businesses.  Fourthly, licensing is a vehicle for putting people out of business if they do not comply.  This fourth object is often influenced by larger businesses paying bribes to regulators and those who oversee the regulators (elected officials & campaign contributions or bribes if you will) for the purpose of putting smaller upstart competitors out of business.  It also allows the bigger businesses which are paying the bribes to get off Scott Free from their responsibilities, or at least for responsible individuals to get off the hook when a fine is applied to the business (corporation) instead.

If you’re seeing a pattern here and what is going on in America in just about every facet of life, then you are awake and you are commended.  If this doesn’t make any sense to you, then you need to either reread it or go get licensed and do a good, innovative  and honest job in your field and see what happens.

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