American Elephants


Unnecessary Regulation May Devastate the Economy and Your Budget. by The Elephant's Child

Republicans complain about “Big Government” all the time, but I’m not sure that the threat is well understood. We need a government because anarchy is not good. In this country we have assigned certain tasks to government. Making and enforcing a basic framework of laws is necessary to make the country function and become livable. We are a nation of laws.

It is not enough for government to do those certain assigned tasks, they always want to do more. Way more. You might think they would proudly do their assigned functions extremely efficiently, and so well that the citizens would rise up and applaud. Well, no.

Some governments have constitutions that explain what the people are allowed to do but the government can do whatever they darn please, and they do. The government of the European Union isn’t exactly elected as we understand the word, and they don’t really have to report to anyone. So they have gotten all silly about the shape that bananas must have, and requiring farmers to write the hen’s name and address on the eggs they sell, and not paid very much attention to what should be their primary function — efficiently managing the government’s money, and the relations between the states.

Perhaps those folks we elect, and we really have to start looking closely at their qualifications, don’t really understand the process of making laws. The two houses of Congress are inclined to make a big general law of thousands of pages that nobody reads, but here’s the troublesome part. They assign the particulars, figuring out the nasty details and how much it will cost and  how much it will interfere in the lives of the citizens who elected them, to an agency. The government is swarming with agencies, offices, bureaus and whatnot, and the first thing you know there are ten different agencies all doing the same thing, and nobody knows if any of them are doing a good job. And we pay for all the duplication.

Congress does not want to be blamed for regulations. So that’s the part they pass on. But regulation costs — big time. Wayne Crews who investigates regulation for CEI estimates the cost of regulation to the American economy is around $1.8 trillion a year. But the costs come right down to us all at the level of our household budget.

During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion a year in new costs for Americans, That is almost four times the number and five times the cost of the major regulations issued by the Bush administration during their first three years. President Obama announced, with the usual fanfare, in January 2011 a new get-tough policy on overregulation. He acknowledged that “rules have gotten out of balance” and “have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.” He promised a comprehensive review. Thirty-two new major regulations appeared that year, increasing the costs by $10 billion annually along with $6.6 billion in one-time implementation cost.

The White House put a whole slew of regulations on hold during the campaign. There were quite a significant number of things that had to wait until the election was over. No sense letting the public know about things they wouldn’t like. How many new regulations will business have to deal with? Nobody knows. The administration has failed to issue a report, required by law, that would set out Obama’s regulatory agenda — due every April and every October.  Spring and Fall 2012 are still missing.  The reason? There are as many as 4,100 rules in the pipeline, and the administration kept them bottled up for “review” until the president was safely re-elected, because many of them will cost jobs. Couldn’t have that right before the election.

Here’s one example, courtesy of ObamaCare, governing vending machines and restaurants, requiring them to display nutritional information. The regulations were expanded to include grocery stores and virtually all food service chains.  The estimated cost: $1.1 billion with 1.4 million additional paperwork burden hours.

The National Association of Manufacturers has pointed out that new EPA regulations in the pipeline could total up to $1111 billion by govt. estimates and $138 billion by industry estimates. Construction costs could total another $500 billion. Jay Timmons, CEO of the manufacturing group warned of a” devastating ripple effect” that could be felt throughout the economy if federal rules are not relaxed or delayed. Some manufacturers are likely to close their doors for good. Can’t have those Ohio voters finding out about that until after the election.

The Federal Register, published every week day and containing all proposed rules and regulations, most of which govern business activities — the left is very suspicious of business — was 81,000 pages in 2011 alone. Few of these regulations meet the “necessary”criteria, but they can surely have a devastating effect on the economy, and they will raise the cost of everything. Regulations are not free, and not necessarily needed.

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