Occupational licenses are sold to the public as a mechanism for protecting consumers from fraudulent providers. Licenses don’t actually provide such protections since they’re just pieces of paper. More importantly, they can actually reduce protections since their existence convinces people that actual protections, such as regular inspections by private independent inspection organizations, aren’t as necessary. So what purpose do occupational licenses server? They serve as a source of revenue for the State as well as a mechanism for it to lash out at its critics:
In September 2014, Mats Järlström, an electronics engineer living in Beaverton, Oregon, sent an email to the state’s engineering board. The email claimed that yellow traffic lights don’t last long enough, which “puts the public at risk.”
“I would like to present these facts for your review and comments,” he wrote.
This email resulted not with a meeting, but with a threat. The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying responded with this dystopian message:
“ORS 672.020(1) prohibits the practice of engineering in Oregon without registration … at a minimum, your use of the title ‘electronics engineer’ and the statement ‘I’m an engineer’ … create violations.”
In January of this year, Järlström was officially fined $500 by the state for the crime of “practicing engineering without being registered.”
How dare he practice engineering without a license? The audacity of this criminal scum!
You almost have to admire the vindictive nature of the State. An individual came forward offering information that could potentially lead to the correction of a bug in a system and the State slaps him with a fine for daring to question its authority. Welcome to America, the freest goddamn country on Earth!