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If I Really Hated the Poor … a Continuing Series
March 22, 2010 Regulation

I would pass laws like this:

Louisiana is the only state that requires florists to obtain a government-issued license before they may create and sell floral arrangements.

It’s for safety you know, and quality too. Because god forbid a rogue florist is out there selling human eating venus flytraps or making ugly arrangements.

But it might just be a simple thing. You know, just pay 30 bucks per year to some bureaucrat, get a piece of paper, and be on your way.

To obtain a license, aspiring florists must pass a subjective examination that is judged by their future competition—florists who already hold a license.  Each year, the state arbitrarily fails numerous test takers.

OK, so it’s just like a road test. A simple test. Anyone can pass it. Think again.

Debby Wood started her own floral arranging business after making six arrangements for her mother-in-law’s birthday party.  At the urging of her family, Debby started Debra Hirsch Wood Designs.  She completed all the necessary paperwork and obtained a tax ID number, but then discovered it was illegal to arrange and sell flowers in Louisiana without a license.  Debby spent $2,000 on a two-week, 80-hour course, an additional $150 on a refresher course the Saturday before the exam, and hundreds of hours studying.  She was shocked when she found out she had failed the test.

But the flowers in Louisiana are sure to be nicer, right?

The licensing law neither protects public health or safety nor improves the quality of floral arrangements in the state.  In a social science experiment conducted in January 2010, Louisiana-licensed florists as well as unlicensed florists from across the border in Texas were asked to judge a random line-up of floral arrangements—25 purchased from shops in regulated Louisiana and 25 purchased from unregulated Texas.  The results demonstrate that not even the licensed Louisiana florists could find any difference in the quality of the arrangements.

Where does it end?

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