July 28, 2017


A Right-Left Fusion Agenda on Zoning & Occupational Licensing (JAMES R. ROGERS, 7/27/17, Law & Liberty)

Both political right and political left increasingly share a common cause critical of occupational licensing and residential zoning. Signs portend the possibility of a left-right coalition to reform these state- and local-level policies. But bitter national-level polarization would need to be put aside to coordinate a common front at state and local levels.

Free market conservatives have long criticized zoning and occupational licensing, even if they took little concrete action to rein in the policies. Recently, however, the American left has publically voiced cognizance and criticism of the unintended consequences of these types of pervasive state and local regulations.

Richard V. Reeves, of the center-left Brookings Institution summarizes the theme of his much-publicized book, Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why that Is a Problem, and What to Do about It, this way:

[B]ecause the separation and perpetuation of the upper middle class corrode prospects for more progressive approaches to policy. Various forms of "opportunity hoarding" among the upper middle class make it harder for others to rise up to the top rung. Examples include zoning laws and schooling, occupational licensing, college application procedures, and the allocation of internships.

To be sure, there is more to Reeves' argument than zoning and occupational licensing, but that doesn't mean common cause can't be had on these discrete areas of policy. 

Posted by at July 28, 2017 9:14 AM