The Latest Frontier in Total Regulation

The most salient feature of what I and others call the “Administrative State” is its relentless logic that virtually every aspect of life should be subject in principle to regulation, and sooner or later in practice, too. Hence the crackdown on little kid lemonade stands and amateur magicians who keep rabbits, which I’ve commented upon previously. Call it the theory of “total regulation” if you like that better than the clangy “Administrative State.”

The newest domain to fall under the regulatory gaze? Personal trainers. The Washington Post reports today:

After decades of unregulated existence in all 50 states, the booming field of personal trainers is braced for a wave of scrutiny that is expected to transform the industry and could make or break some of the biggest fitness companies in the country.

The new regulations, being written by and for the nation’s capital city, will create a registry of all personal trainers in the District only. But they are expected to become a model that winners and losers in the fight believe will be replicated elsewhere.

The credit — or blame — for the newfound urgency can be traced in part to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. A variety of workplace wellness programs and preventive health-care initiatives called for in the law could soon translate into rivers of billable hours for those with credentials to keep American waistlines in check.

Yet another thing that no one knew was in the Affordable Care Act. Nancy Pelosi was right: indeed we did have to pass the bill to find out what was in it. And I suspect we’ll be finding out new things in the bill for a very long time.

This is just another reason why I will only use impersonal trainers.

If you think about this for a moment, it appears that the regulators have their eye on CrossFit, just as they want to strangle Uber.  More from the Post:

The uncertainty over the coming rules is weighing heavily on many who make their living in the industry, especially through CrossFit, which has thrived in a heretofore unregulated space. . .

Layered into the D.C. regulatory fight is a battle between CrossFit and a consortium of established sports medicine organizations that have banded together under the title of the Coalition for Registration of Exercise Professionals. . .

The coalition has created a national registry of personal trainers to list and verify credentials. It has attracted at least 150,000 trainers — more than half of all those thought to use the title nationwide. . .

CrossFit has homed in on statements by Simpson that the board began consulting with members of the coalition about proposed standards more than five years ago. He cast the legislation as a “Hail Mary pass” by those organizations to prevent the loss of customers to CrossFit.

Yup—another anti-competitive, rent-seeking effort parading under the banner of “protecting the public.”