A jobs agenda for the right

To start, rolling back oppressive licensing requirements would be a big help. The Institute for Justice reports that the average cosmetologist spends 372 days in training to receive an occupational license from the government, while the average emergency medical technician trains for 33 days. Which occupation seems like it needs more training? In October 2013 the Washington Post told the story of Isis Brantley, who is required by law to complete a staggering 2,250 hours of training in order to teach hair-braiding to willing customers in Dallas. The government certainly has a role in ensuring that certain occupations are practiced only by well-trained professionals, but it seems obvious that we have gone too far. As part of their effort to put Americans back to work, conservatives should support scaling back unnecessary occupational licensing at every level of government in order to advance economic liberty and create jobs.

A reform of today’s disability-benefit system is also essential. The share of working-age adults receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits doubled from 2.3% in 1989 to 4.6% in 2009. Program expenditures have increased dramatically as well. SSDI applications track movements in the unemployment rate across time, providing strong support to the hypothesis that many people who would like to work but can’t find a job end up on disability. The United States must ensure a basic standard of living for the truly disabled, but no one seriously disputes the argument that SSDI needs to be reformed so that it ceases to offer a permanent alternative to working for people would could be in the labor force. Conservatives should champion this cause unabashedly.