Yglesias: The American economy is simultaneously overregulated and underregulated

The way I would put this is that the American economy is simultaneously overregulated and underregulated. It is much too difficult to get business and occupational licenses…Business licensing is different. “This city has too many restaurants to choose from” is not a real public policy problem, it’s only a problem for incumbent restauranteurs who don’t want to face competition.

In a nutshell, regulations can make sense in the case of information asymmetry and in cases of negative externality. They usually don’t make sense as price controls. And in many cases, business and occupational licenses, taxi medallions, street vendor quotas and the like act as defacto price controls.