Nanny State: Government regulation goes step too far in Nevada

24 March 2007

Government regulation goes step too far in Nevada

by George Will

PHOENIX - In the West, where the deer and the antelope used to play, the spirit of ''leave us alone'' government used to prevail. But governments of Western states are becoming more like those elsewhere, alas.

Consider the minor - but symptomatic - matter of the government-abetted aggression by ''interior designers'' against mere ''decorators,'' or against interior designers whom other interior designers wish to demote to the status of decorators. Some designers think decorators should be a lesser breed without the law on its side.

Those categories have blurry borders. Essentially, interior designers design an entire space, sometimes including structural aspects; decorators have less comprehensive and more mundane duties - matching colors, selecting furniture, etc.

In New Mexico, anyone can work as an interior designer. But it is a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison, to list yourself on the Internet or in the Yellow Pages as, or to otherwise call yourself, an ''interior designer'' without being certified as such. Those who favor this censoring of truthful commercial speech are a private group that controls, using an exam administered by a private national organization, access to that title.

This is done in the name of ''professionalization,'' but it really amounts to cartelization. Persons in the business limit access by others - competitors - to full participation in the business.


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