“The free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history — it has lifted billions of people out of poverty.” – President Barack Obama at a panel discussion on poverty in May 2015.
The United States ranks as the 11th most economically free country in the world according to the Heritage Freedom Index, and has a history of embracing free-markets yet the rate of poverty still stands at a poignant 14.8 percent.
Why is this the case? While the U.S. has historically embraced free-markets, it has not been able to escape a streak of deep seeded cronyism. Cronyism is one of the biggest threats to the free-market that nearly every country faces – especially in countries where the regulatory state has grown beyond its intended reach and the federal government exercises nearly unlimited control.
Cronyism is a broad topic that can range from corporate welfare to agricultural subsidies but one form of cronyism that often gets overlooked despite having the biggest impact on the poor is occupational licensing.
Occupational licensing is essentially any form of barrier that prevents someone from entering a certain field of work. (more…)