In this political season of Republican primaries, one often hears how TOO MUCH REGULATION is killing the economy.
Now that brings to mind some coal factory where OSHA says the air can only have 8 parts per million of sulphur, and the company says they can only get it down to 9 parts per million, and there’s a law case, but these are fine points that the average citizen, non-business owner just can’t understand. The average citizen thinks it’s dirty air vs. clean air, when it’s just tiny fine points of how dirty can the air be so we can have lights and working ovens.
So I have what I think is the best example of over regulation that I found even a 14-year-old could understand, so perhaps the best way to explain this is to narrate my last Christmas dinner at my wife’s family’s house in Milwaukee. We are all sitting there engaging in a little stimulating conversation for the teenagers and 20 somethings there who watch a LITTLE news when not rooting for the Packers or watching MTV. And I inform them of an interesting fact that affects my world of court reporting.
First we talk about driver’s licenses and how every state requires a driver’s license for citizens to drive.
Then I mention doctor’s licenses, and they all know the Michael Jackson case. We all agree that every state licenses doctors, and who in the world would go to a doctor who did NOT have a license anyway? I pointed out that, with or without licenses, doctors make mistakes and kill and maim people, even though it’s extremely rare.
Then I turn the topic to court reporter licenses, and they all know I started the most advanced reporting firm on earth. I point out to that in Illinois, there is an agency (in the semicircular peach colored building) called the Department of Professional Regulation, and if you go on their website, you can see a list of the licenses they grant, and on the list, is doctors and court reporters. Further, we talk about how if the professional performs in a substandard way, their license can be suspended or revoked just like a driver’s license.
Then we go on the Wisconsin website for the Department of Regulation and Licensing, and I point out that EVERY state has an agency with a similar name that REGULATES professional licenses, just like every state has a Department of Transportation for driver’s licenses.
So then we look at the list of professional licenses in Wisconsin, and COURT REPORTING HAS NO LICENSE WHATSOEVER.
So I ask the kids in an incredulous tone and say, “How in the world can the court reporting profession in Wisconsin survive? How do the lawyers get a transcript that isn’t so full of errors as to be unusable? Don’t these licenses mean ANYTHING?”
So the final question becomes, “Are all these licenses necessary?” WHAT IS THE REAL PURPOSE OF THESE LICENSES? I HAVE NOW DEMONSTRATED TO YOU, BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, THAT THEY SEEM NOT TO BE NECESSARY IN WISCONSIN?
And my wife’s wise old aunt, her mouth still full of turkey at the table, takes a breath, stops stuffing her face, and barks a single word:
“REVENUE!!!” And then just took another bite of turkey. I haven’t stopped laughing yet. And I’m chuckling big time as I recall this story. What’ya think?