Chris Woodward ( Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's a workplace issue that you may not know or even care about, but one organization says that should change. 

While people like doctors and lawyers must have licenses, the Independent Women's Forum says thousands of business women and men face occupational licensing requirements to work in everything from cosmetics to interior design, something IWF sees as restricting innovation and entrepreneurship for many Americans.

IWF's Abby Schachter says the reason given is that the licensing protects consumers from "hucksters," people who are trying to scam the public.

"So if they have a professional license, if they are given permission by the government for work, then we can trust that they know what they're doing," she says. "But in a lot of areas, it's also a means of controlling who can perform certain services."

One example that Schachter points to is taxi drivers voicing opposition to ride-sharing services, a sort of 21st century carpooling or car service that involves smartphones among other things.

"What people saw from this was, Wait a minute, this is a service we may want. Why isn't it up to me as the individual? I'm the consumer. I'll decide whether I want to call a taxi or use my smartphone to call an Uber driver.'"

Schachter points out that in 1950, licensing affected one in 20 occupations. Today, one in three occupations requires a license.

"And it's costing our economy billions of dollars a year," she says.