One theme that has been rising to the surface more and more in conservative arguments is the potential threat state occupational licensing and regulations pose to innovation and economic growth. Paul Ryan’s poverty plan included a section on reforming licensing and regulation, and multiple studies have tried to lay bare the often capricious thicket faced by many entrepreneurs and self-employed Americans in the working class.

This week, R Street’s Ian Adams called attention to the latest manifestation of the problem: how Prop 103 — an auto insurance law passed in California in 1988 — mandates that insurers take certain risk factors into account, with possible perverse consequences for the rise of driverless car technology…

…This specific instance has relevance for liberals because driverless technology could play a key role in the organized transportation system of the future, cutting down on the need for car ownership — especially in urban areas — and thus reducing carbon emissions. And regulations in New Jersey and other states have already hampered the ease with which Tesla’s electric cars can expand their market. So this also serves as an example of the broader phenomenon conservatives are trying to call attention to, in which regulations that seemed like a good idea at the time they were passed wind up doing unforeseen damage down the road when new business models and technologies arise.

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