Creating Jobs By Creating Inefficiency

A new model of Toyota Motor’s best selling car ‘Corolla’ leaves an assemble line at a plant of the company’s subsidiary Central Motor at Ohira village in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan on May 11, 2012.

Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages

The North Carolina state legislature was recently considering a bill to exempt new cars from safety and emissions inspections, which would save car owners some time and hassle. I don’t know anything about cars, so maybe there’s some environmental or public safety reason to think that’s a bad idea, but at least one member of the legislature skipped right past public interest rationales to the need to preserve inefficiency:

Sen. Jerry W. Tillman, a Randolph County Republican, protested that the measure would hurt garages, tire dealers and inspection stations – whose trade associations had lobbyists in attendance at the crowded meeting room.

“I know a lot of people who do this, and they sell some gas on the side, but most of their profit comes from these inspections,” Tillman said. “We have 7,500 small businesses that do these inspections.”

That’s a classic one for the dubious pro-business policy initiatives files. By the same token, if North Carolina were to require sofas to get annual sofa safety inspections from authorized sofa safety inspectors that would create a thriving new small business segment. But would it be a good idea? I have my doubts.