Regulation without Representation

“President Bush is the first president to accomplish what?”

“He’s the first to propose a budget that tops $3 trillion. Only six years ago, he was the first to propose one that topped $2 trillion. America is the proud owner of the largest government on Earth.”

“That’s a lot of government.”

“It gets worse. Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute says that ‘the government’s reach extends far beyond the taxes that Washington collects and the deficit spending at which it excels.’ He’s talking about the cost of government regulations. He explains in detail in ‘Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.’”

“How do government regulations cost us money?”

“In some cases the federal government imposes new rules and regulations on lower governments, and those governments must raise taxes to cover the cost of compliance.”

“I see — the old bait and switch.”

“And complying with regulations costs private-sector organizations big money, too. They pass the costs along to us through increases in the price of consumer goods.”

“So regulations end up costing us hard-earned money just as taxes do?”

“Precisely. Crew’s report calculates that regulatory compliance costs hit $1.16 trillion in 2007 — an amount almost half the size of the federal budget itself. Federal regulations gobbled up nearly 10 percent of what the U.S. economy produced last year.”

“That’s a lot of gobbling.”

“In 2007, nearly 3,600 new rules and regulations were added — since 1995 when the ‘small-government’ Republicans took over Congress, 51,000 rules and regulations have been added!”

“Small government, my eye.”

“The Federal Register, which contains all the rules and regulations, is more than 72,000 pages thick — down a touch from previous years, but still massive nonetheless.”

“Where do all those regulations come from?”

“It all starts with lawmaking. In response to a social or economic need or problem, Congress passes a law. The appropriate regulatory agency then interprets that law and writes regulations that define how the law will be implemented.”

“Can you provide an example?”

“The FDA creates its regulations under the authority of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, the Controlled Substances Act and several other acts created by Congress over the years. Based on the acts, the FDA creates specific regulations that determine what food and drug companies can and cannot do.”

“Do you mean government bureaucrats, not elected officials, are really the ones determining what people and organizations can and cannot do?”

“Yep. There are more than 50 regulatory agencies in the federal government and each is empowered to create and enforce rules and regulations that are backed by the might of federal law. Individuals, and organizations, can be fined or thrown in jail for violating them.”

“That sounds ominous.”

“It can be ominous, which is why regulators must be kept in check. But where regulations are concerned, Crews says nobody is doing that.”

“So how do we keep the regulators in check?”

“Disclosure and accountability. Crews argues that regulatory costs should be accounted for just like federal spending. Cost-benefit analysis should be provided before a regulation is imposed. And when a regulation will cost more than $100 million to comply with, the Congress should be required to vote on the regulation BEFORE it becomes binding.”

“Sounds like common sense to me.”

“He also argues that Congress should create a regulatory report card to monitor regulatory agencies. And while they’re at it, the Congress should create a bipartisan commission to expose and eliminate harmful regulations. In other words, we should ‘end regulation without representation.’”

“That Crews fellow has some really good ideas, but isn’t he overlooking the primary benefit of an incredibly thick Federal Register?”

“What’s that?”

“If the Iranians don’t shape up, we can threaten to drop it on them.”

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  • Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    And people stare at me in shock and wonder when I tell them that the only functions of government that are completely legitimate are to refrain us from harming each other by use of threats, force, or fraud, and to ensure that restitution is made for such harm.

  • kent4jmj

    The second legitimate function is to defend the country. But that never meant a standing army with a military industrial complex that is so enmeshed in our government that politicians profit from contracts that go to these companies. Or that National security “hazzards” be fabricated to fool the American People into paying more taxes to expand the Military.

    Just think of all the lies, that are now clearly known, used to invade Iran. Or how about the Anthrax hoax.

    But yes the appropriate size of our government would shock most people. We really do not need the Government for 90% of the supposed services they provide. They have no business being in Education, Health Care, Retirement etc.

    Bureaucracy is increased sucking up tax dollars and providing “services” that are a joke if they provide any at all. Just think of all the money in permits we shell out. is a good resource if interested. They advocate that only Congress can pass laws not bureaucrats.
    John Birch Society is also another good resource. And no they are not the evil racists the media has portrayed them to be in the past.
    Lew Rockwell and finish off the list for me.

    Hope this is helpful.

  • kent4jmj
  • SolaGratia

    I am all for limited government, but the government does have a vested interest in more than policing and defense. The education of citizens is critical, for example. One has only to look at countries like Venezuela where the street children were so desperate & had no way out of their poverty & starvation that they took to stealing from the merchants – the merchants then took to shooting them like vermin in retaliation. Clearly, the govt. offering an education to the poor is a worthwhile investment – desperate people without hope are detrimental to all of us.

    Unfortunately, that simple idea – like so many other valid ones – has been hijacked. In this case it has been done by people who want to brainwash vulnerable & naive children because they are otherwise unable to sell their ideas to the general public. But that doesn’t make the foundational premise of public education wrong – only the direction that it has been manipulated to take.

    While our country’s founding fathers did not originally put this in the Constitution, I have little doubt that had they the gift of being able to look forward in time, they would have agreed with the wisdom of it. Along with the necessity of a standing army in this age of modern warfare & terrorism. Do you realize how long it would take to gather up sufficient troops & train them properly otherwise? It would be impossible to mount an effective military defense otherwise – Russia or China would have bombed us into submission or oblivion long before we could do so.

    (And if we were to argue that these things are wrong on the basis of how they have been manipulated & corrupted by opportunists, then we would have to join the ranks of those who are convinced that Vatican II was a mistake and should never have happened because of how it has been used & abused. Reminds me too much of the warm, fuzzy Jesus catechists who had problems with too much “rigid doctrinalism” so they responded by throwing it out completely)

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