Bimbo Banter


Anecdotes Triumph!


  • Trends
  • May 9, 2017
  • by Merrie Spaeth

Can I take some credit for this? When I was director of Public Affairs at the FTC, our chairman, economist James Miller III, used data and charts to back up charges that regulations chill competition. No traction. The Washington Post carried the story of a young woman who braided hair and hoped to develop a business of her own. And that is when the idea came to me. I knew the power of the anecdote and was convinced that the role of hair braiders could be shared to beat back anti-competitive regulations.

The story went like this, the DC Board of Cosmetology swooped in, told her she needed to go to cosmetology school and pay a license fee of $1000. She replied that the Cosmetology school didn’t teach braiding, only cutting and coloring, and she pointed out that if she paid $1000 from her savings, it would decimate her ability to set up a shop. “Tough,” they said and shut her down. Chairman Miller told that story over and over, and everyone understood how regulations stymied innovation and jobs.

The role of hair braiders as change agents has grown. Indiana became the 22nd state to exempt hair braiders from requiring a state license – which now costs $10,000! Like the others who have come to our attention, a young woman, Nicole Barnes-Thomas had been braiding hair since she was a teenager. Now she’s free to proceed, and we are very proud of her. What we need now? More anecdotes that showcase the positive impact of conservative principles and what they can mean to actual individuals. 



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