Red Tape and Regulation Strangulation

$10,185 per Job!

Did you read the story in the Economist magazine about regulation in America?  If not I urge you to do so.

This is a useful overview of the problem we all know we face but can’t seem to get to a reasonable balance between regulations important for health, safety and fair competition but avoid the politically correct industrial policy choices of government bureaucrats and the creeping and creepy intrusion of government into every aspect of our lives.

As I was reading this story online a news report came on TV in the background.  It was the report of a school that took a child’s lunch from her because it said that the turkey sandwich, banana and potato chips was not healthy and did not meet Federal nutrition guidelines. The school gave the kid chicken nuggets for lunch and sent the mother a bill for $1.25 along with a nasty note to clean up her nutrition compliance.   This report, of course, went viral and so did the mother—and the school was suitably embarrassed and retracted the invoice.

But we know these things happen constantly.  The regulatory intrusion in our lives is growing.  Most of them do not go viral and get laughed at.  They just make us quietly seethe! 

A great nation cannot stay great for very long with this regulatory foolishness.  I have ranted before about the need for fundamental change in the Federal rule-making process.  But the bureaucrats are just doing what our elected officials direct them to do.  It reminds me of the wise old Texas State house expression:

“Give the People what they want, and give it to them hard!”

We’re getting it hard alright. The Economist story says that a study done for the US Small Business Administration on the cumulative cost of regulation found that regulation adds about $10, 185 to the cost of very job created in America.  But this is an election year and the voice of the people is more likely to be heard than after November 2012 so I have a suggestion.  Let’s all tell our politicians we have another old State House expression they better start paying attention to:

“We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!”

So here’s the pledge we want every elected official to take:

  1. Congressional Vote on Regulations. If you pass a bill that requires regulations to enforce, the bill may not go into effect until Congress votes to approve each and every regulation so we know who to hold accountable.
  2. Sunset Process on Regulation. We want a law that automatically sunsets EVERY regulation on a regular cycle at least once every ten years.  To continue in effect the regulation must go through a complete new review including a standardized analysis of costs and benefits done by an independent third party. Every regulation proposed to continue must be submitted to Congress for an up or down vote so we know who to hold accountable.
  3. Balancing of Interests Cost Benefit Analysis.  We want a law that applies to all current and future regulations requiring a standardized method for calculating costs and benefits.  This law would specifically amend every law including all environmental laws to require a balancing of interests as public policy using this cost benefit calculus.
  4. Stop Regulatory Extortion We want a law that denies standing to third parties with no direct economic interest in a project in litigation or as interveners in permitting or other regulatory proceedings. The purpose of this change is to stop the use of litigation and administrative proceedings as a delay or regulatory extortion tactic to get a different outcome.

There ends the rant.


  1. This rant on regulation is just that-a rant. Remember the promise not to pass any legislation unless it was in accordance with the constitution? It appears this was simply a ploy while in opposition to win power. If not, which and how many regulations were overturned over the past ten years?

    “…Crawling and creepy intrusion into every aspect of our lives” include proposed legislation to mandate ultrasound tests for women against their will; and new, onerous, and unnecessary requirements for documentation before a US citizen may vote in elections.

    You call for “a standardized analysis of costs and benefits to be done by an independent third party” and later, “a law that denies standing to third parties with no direct economic interest”. Is a third party to be deemed “independent” or to have a direct interest only when it’s position coincides with a particular agenda?
    Is the Congressional Budget Office be cited when it projects the return of high unemployment later in 2012 but disregarded when it “scores” the Affordable Care Act as reducing the national debt?

    Your faith in Congress is remarkable in view of the fact that 90% of the American public don’t share it. You want to “…amend every law including environmental laws.” Does this include the 14th Amendment, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, The Americans With Disabilities Act etc.
    Would you have them repealed if the economic costs outpaced the benefits?

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