One Way to Address Worker Shortage: A Commission to Clear Out Job-Blocking Regulations

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Earlier this week, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee held a hearing to discuss ways to address the worker shortage. There are more than 10 million job openings right now, but workers aren’t exactly rushing to fill them. Over at The Hill, I suggest an idea that wasn’t discussed at the hearing, but could do a lot of good: an independent commission to comb the books for obsolete, redundant, or burdensome rules that prevent workers from getting good jobs and send a repeal package for Congress to vote on:

The commission idea has been tried before, and it works. When the Cold War ended and the military wanted to close unneeded bases, no members of Congress would vote to close the one in their districts. To get around that political problem, Congress outsourced the tough decisions and created the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. Multiple BRAC rounds during the 1990s helped Congress do the right thing and saved billions of dollars. …

There are many possible candidate rules for the commission’s list. Occupational licensing reform has support from both parties. Much of the heavy lifting will be at the state level, but there are federal licensing requirements for truckers, pilots, and many federal contractors that Congress could reform. For example, the minimum age for interstate truckers could be lowered from 21 to 18, and truckers should be allowed to set their own hours.

Read the whole piece here.

See also a short paper I wrote with more details on the Regulatory Cleanup Commission idea.