‘America is addicted to licensing. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Consider this recent incident out of Chicago: shocked by the death of an infant boy in his ward, who prosecutors say was murdered by his father, Chicago Alderman Ray Lopez took to Twitter in January to express his outrage.
He said he was tired of seeing tragic stories like this and had a plan to end them. “Time to start requiring childbirth licensing, conception fees or toddler escrows in order to be a parent,” the alderman tweeted. “If love doesn’t motivate good behavior, perhaps hitting their pockets will.”
For many Americans, the idea is shocking — and rightly so. But given the uptick in licensing and how deeply it has become ingrained in our culture, it may not be that far-fetched.
Indeed, in the last century, America has seen an explosion of licensing. As of 2020, nearly a quarter of all jobs require a license — a five-fold increase from 1950, when only five percent of jobs required one. Americans have become accustomed to requiring licenses to become a florist, a travel agent, and even a shampooer at a salon. If parenting really is “the hardest job there is,” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people want to start licensing it, too.
And the alderman wasn’t joking, either. He stood by his stance after being contacted by the Chicago Sun-Times, saying that if he could make it happen legally, he would. However, he did acknowledge that such a thing would not likely be possible in America, stating: “I don’t think that there’s any way that we can truthfully license people to have children. This is not China. We’re not a Communist country with child-bearing laws.” Alderman Lopez is right. This is not Communist China, and thank God. China’s one-child policy led to an infanticide epidemic, undocumented children, forced abortions, and dangerous birthing scenarios that led to increased maternal mortality.’