American Elephants

Eliminate Excessive Regulation; Ignite an Economic Boom. by The Elephant's Child

American businessmen complain about government regulation. President Obama is quite sure that they are mistaken, but he is a progressive and regulating comes as naturally as breathing. “During Obama’s first three years, 105 major federal regulations added more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans. This is more than four times the number and more than five times the cost — of the major regulations issued by George W. Bush during his first three years,” according to a study by the Heritage Foundation.

In January 2011, President Obama announced —with much fanfare — 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 pledged a comprehensive review. But the flow of regulation continued with 32 new major regulations in 2011 that increased regulatory costs by almost $10 billion annually along with another $6.6 billion in one-time implementation costs. Mr. Obama cites removing the regulation that designated a spill of farm milk as a hazardous oil spill, as a major accomplishment. But that seems to be the only one.

Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare add hundreds of new regulations. Neither Congress nor the Administration keeps track of the total number and cost of regulation. During 2011 the administration completed a total of 3,611 rulemaking proceedings according to the GAO, of which 79 were classified as major — meaning that each had an expected economic impact of at least $100 million per year. Thirty-two of those put new limits or mandates on private sector activity. Only five major actions decreased regulatory burdens.

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In an environment where increased regulation is considered to be a public good, states and municipalities do their share of regulating. The Institute for Justice explains in the following video how licensing can restrict the entrance to many occupations. In many cases, it’s just bureaucratic busybodying, in others those already in an occupation hope to cut back on the competition by making it harder to work in their field. It’s quite a racket. And very hard on those who just want to establish a small business, but can’t afford the required licensing regulations.

There was quite a bit of publicity a while back about hair-braiding in the African-American community. It is really an art, and takes long practice, with beautiful results. Beauticians, however, took exception to people without a beautician’s license taking away what might have been some of their business. Beauty schools are expensive, take quite some time and don’t teach that kind of hair-braiding. They teach hair cutting and curling, coloring and tinting —that sort of thing, which the hair braiders don’t do. I don’t know how it turned out, nor in what states it was a problem, but I hope the hair braiders won.

In Washington state, Interior Designers have fought a battle to disqualify anyone from being called an Interior Designer, who hasn’t had the requisite schooling and passed  certifying examinations. It has been on the ballot twice and lost both times, but they will keep trying to eliminate the competition.

Emergency Medical Technicians save lives with their training and skills. It seems absurd that licensing requirements for many simpler jobs should be so much more costly and involve more time..

It is not the nature of governments at any level to remove or repeal regulation. They’re there to make law, not get rid of old, unworkable or unwieldy regulation. It is going to take citizen involvement and a lot of pressure to help make it happen. The statist web of controlling regulations and requirements can eventually paralyze a society. That is what has happened to Europe. The free market that would save Europe is never tried because the vast web of governance is too entrenched to relinquish control.

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