A classic example of regulatory capture and the “nanny state”

Regulatory capture has been defined as follows:

Regulatory capture occurs when a government’s regulatory agency, which was created in the public interest, ends up advancing the political or commercial concerns of the very people, companies or entities it is supposed to be regulating. Regulatory capture, in the world of government monitoring, is like when the gamekeeper turns poacher, or at least, assists the poacher.

. . .

If you are having problems because the wolves keep eating the sheep, perhaps setting up an agency might help protect those sheep. However, you have a problem if the only individuals qualified to become agency members are also wolves.

There’s a classic example of regulatory capture currently going on in New York state.

A state bureaucrat wants to mandate 500 hours of training for anyone who shampoos hair at a beauty salon or barbershop — but something about her push for the bizarre new requirement just doesn’t wash.

That’s because she is also a beauty school owner, The Post has found, as is a second member of the state board that licenses salon workers.

A third person on the panel runs a membership and lobbying group for the cosmetology school industry.

That’s out of four total board members.

If their training-before-shampooing mandate passes, hair washers would have to spend an average of $13,354 on beauty school each to secure a “shampoo assistant” license.

. . .

New York state currently has 22,997 hair salons and 4,847 barbershops — all of which could be impacted if the proposed bill becomes law.

If just one shampoo assistant from each business had to pay for training, the total learn-to-lather classwork cost could top $370 million.

. . .

The state also expects to take its cut with applications, fees and fines from assistants and salons.

There’s more at the link.

It’s odd.  I’ve never had any training at all in shampooing my hair;  yet I manage to get it done, in at least a passably acceptable fashion, on a regular basis.  Have I been doing it wrong all these years?  How can I possibly know, unless I shell out a five-figure sum to be educated enough to allow the state to assess (and license) my performance?  Oh, horror!  What a dilemma!

Personally, I think New Yorkers should tar, feather, and run out of town on a rail anyone and everyone associated with this scheme.  They deserve no less, and possibly much more and much harsher treatment.  How about also banning them from any and every regulatory position of any kind, appointed or elected, for the rest of their lives?



  1. We have the same thing with "nail technicians" in Florida. (they work on fingernails, not shooting steel nails out of guns)

    It costs far more for training to do manicures than to be an Emergency Medical Technician.

  2. Well, to be fair, they're going to allow Shampoo Assistants to prescribe drugs, right? What, they just wash hair? 500 hours must be required to be culturally sensitive about it.

    Wait until early 2021, when they start going after all the homeschool pod teachers for not being licensed…

  3. "It's odd. I've never had any training at all in shampooing my hair; "

    …which means that you should not be permitted access to shampooing materials lest you misuse them. As sysadmn intuits, only licensed practitioners should be permitted to dispense such substances.

    Really makes you scratch your head.

    1. Best to make sure your hands are free of shampoo when you do scratch your head, though. That would be illegal in NYC.

  4. Gosh,, a stranger walkin by might innocently conclude they are trying to drive the competition out,,

    Somewhere in the distance I am just sure I hear Red Skelton saying

  5. In Wisconsin, you must have a license to drive a semi or cut hair but you don't need a license to X-ray a patient. Sheesh.

  6. I would claim there is no government regulatory agency created that doesn't experience regulatory capture after sufficient time passes. After the regulatory capture occurs, the government agency then proceeds to rent seeking, both for itself and the group it's regulating. That serves to eliminate any additional competition to the original group.

    The taxi drivers & taxi medallions are another case in point example. Cities were generating millions of dollars a year via medallion sales, and taxi drivers were generating 'a good living' due to the lack of competition. Then Uber & Lyft destroyed that cozy little captured market, so the government reacted to remove the competitors by new laws & regulations governing Uber & Lyft drivers.

  7. I'm a retired licensed Professional Engineer. Yes, you want some assurance that the person designing a building is competent. However, the "Regulatory Capture" folks have invaded even the engineering licensing boards. Many (most) boards are populated with academics because, well working engineers have day jobs with limited time to spend writing regulations and attending meetings. Engineering professors on the other hand, get brownie points for being on a professional board and paid time off to attend/sponsor meetings and unpaid grad students to do the dog work. No surprise that continuing education requirements to maintain a license are expanding.

  8. I am sure, either in the employee manual, or in the break room is posted

    Remember, results aren't as important as red tape, red tape pays for your job…

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