Give Michigan barbers a break
Manny Lopez in Michigan Capitol Confidential: There are a couple of things I look for in a barber, but the fact they are required to have more hours in the classroom training than a lawyer is not one of them. That’s right, if you want to cut hair in this state you need to spend 2,000 hours training before you can use the shears on strangers.
Hopes were raised briefly last week when a bill was introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, that would modify the hours required for barbers to get into the business. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 612 only trims the requirement to 1,800 hours. That’s like shaving off one sideburn. Hopgood introduced the bill on behalf of a constituent who was unable to immediately get a job in Michigan because he did his barber training in Ohio, which requires 1,800 hours. To make up for the 200-hour deficit, he would have had to work in Ohio for six months before having the privilege of cutting hair up here.
Hopgood seems to understand the fundamental problem with the state’s barber requirement, but his solution falls flat. “Michigan’s overly strict requirements on this issue create a disincentive for individuals to pursue barbering in our state and create unnecessary challenges for out-of-state trained barbers to be licensed here,” he said in a press release.
However, being “just as good as Ohio” isn’t the benchmark Michigan needs to meet. Michigan needs to revise its business regulations across the board and barber regulations are as good a place as any to make wholesale changes.
The solution is making fundamental changes that make it easier for entrepreneurs, employers and individuals to succeed without the heavy hand of government beating down upon them.
Is Detroit ready for a white mayor?
Jillian Melchior in National Review Online: Detroit looks likely to elect its first white mayor in four decades, as Mike Duggan leads his opponent, Benny Napoleon, nearly 2 to 1, according to the most recent poll figures. The weird thing is that, in a racially polarized city, race hasn’t been much of an issue in the general election.
Race has shaped and destroyed Detroit’s culture. Racism is destructive in part because it undermines trust, a critical underpinning of civil society. And it remains a painful factor in Detroit, a fractured city where residents place extraordinary significance on whether the events of 1943 and 1967 are better described as “race riots” or “race uprisings.” Today, for all of America’s progress on race, Detroit remains a segregated city: More than 80 percent of its residents are black, and mistrust abounds on both sides of the city limits.
It’s in that context that Duggan has emerged as an unlikely front-runner. And whether or not he wins, his successes could signal an important change for Detroit.
Like President Barack Obama, Duggan is running on a platform of hope and change. Given that Detroit became the largest city in the United States to file for bankruptcy, and given its estimated $18 billion in current debt, that message is a welcome shift for many voters.
Politics are, fundamentally, about issues, and feelings of kinship often just don’t cut it. And it’s not as if Duggan has a winningly charismatic personality; on the contrary, he sometimes comes off as abrupt or disinterested. Then again, perhaps he’s getting points just for showing up in voters’ living rooms; around Detroit, the word is that since Duggan trumped his next contender by more than 20,000 votes in the August mayoral primary, general-election opponent Benny Napoleon has been strangely absent on the campaign trail.
Looking at Obamacare, from the future
Bradley Allen in the Wall Street Journal : Three years after the disastrous launch of the Affordable Care Act, most of the website troubles finally have been ironed out. People are now able to log on to the government’s ACA website and to most of the state health-insurance exchanges. The public has grudgingly come to accept higher insurance premiums, new taxes and increases in part-time workers who were formerly full-time. But Americans are irate anyway — because now they’re seeing the health care law’s destructive effect on the fundamental nature of the way their care is delivered.
Even before the ACA’s launch in 2013, many physicians — seeing the changes in their profession that lay ahead — had begun talking their children out of going to medical school. After the launch, compensation fell, while nothing in the ACA stopped lawsuits and malpractice premiums from rising. Doctors must now see many more patients each day to meet expenses, all while dealing with the mountains of paperwork mandated by the health care law.
The forecast shortage of doctors has become a real problem. It started in 2014 when the ACA cut $716 billion from Medicare to accommodate 30 million newly “insured” people through an expansion of Medicaid. More important, the predicted shortage of 42,000 primary-care physicians and that of specialists (such as heart surgeons) was vastly underestimated. It didn’t take into account the ACA’s effect on doctors retiring early, refusing new patients or going into concierge medicine. These estimates also ignored the millions of immigrants who would be seeking a physician after having been granted legal status.