The Regulatory State keeps Americans unemployed.
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Legislators like having someone else do their dirty work. Enacting broad laws while leaving agencies to fill in the details helps insulate politicians from the impact of their dirty work. When constituents get upset lawmakers just blame the bureaucrats and act as an ombudsman to work out the problem, if possible. Then they collect the citizen’s vote in the next election.
The pressure on Congress to use regulation as a policy tool grows along with pressures to cut spending. Notes Crews: “Taxation and regulation can substitute for each other, and the pressure for deficit reduction can invite lawmakers to opt for off-budget regulations on the private sector rather than adding to already-unchecked deficit spending.”
Just five agencies, Agriculture, Commerce, Environmental Protection Agency, Interior, and Treasury account for 42 percent of federal rules. The fact that all regulations cost money doesn’t mean they necessarily cost more than the benefits they provide. Unfortunately, however, most do. Politics rules administrative agencies as well as houses of Congress. Any system which allows people to spend money and reengineer society at someone else’s expense is not likely to promote the public interest.
No surprise, regulation as well as spending by government interferes with job creation. If you make it more expensive to create companies, hire people, and sell goods and services, there will be less economic activity and lower employment. Thus, Crews argues: “When it comes to stimulating a limping economy, both reducing deficits and ensuring that regulations are bearable are critical for economic health. Better regulatory oversight and monitoring can help ‘liberate to stimulate’.”
A number of steps could be taken to help slow the regulatory onslaught. The most important would be to withdraw government entirely from certain areas. For instance, Obamacare should be repealed. Washington has no business mandating what must be in health insurance plans and who should buy them. Too much of what Uncle Sam does is social engineering inappropriate in a free society.
Most everyone promotes “cost-benefit” analyses, but, warns Crews, “A problem with cost-benefit analysis, however, apart from it not being done and enforced, is that it largely amounts to agency self-policing. Agencies that perform audits of their own rules rarely admit that a rule’s benefits do not justify the costs involved.” At the very least such analyses should be carried out by a separate, independent agency.
Moreover, Crews suggests aiming more deeply, at improper delegation by Congress, which “should answer for the compliance costs — as well as benefits — of federal regulations.” Regulations could require congressional assent before they go into effect. Rules also should automatically sunset unless Congress votes otherwise. Many authorizations likely would be perfunctory, but such a process would make it easier for future presidents and Congresses to review past federal actions.
Federal regulation costs too much. In freedom as well as money. Consider the Supreme Court case earlier this year, Sackett v. EPA, in which the justices unanimously rebuffed the Environmental Protection Agency when it sought to prevent review of its actions until citizens had been hit with bankruptcy-inducing fines. Not just money was at issue. Also at stake was America’s status as a free society.
Despite trillions in deficit spending and even more in loose monetary policy the American economy remains in the doldrums. Instead of trying more of the same, as proposed by the president, Congress should adopt a “deregulatory stimulus.” Cut back old regulations and stop new ones. Then maybe America will finally get back to work.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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