Archive for the ‘regulation’ Tag

A Reverse Legacy   Leave a comment

Every president since Jimmy Carter has promised to cut regulation. Carter lied and so did the others. Even President Obama’s early executive orders promising to cut red tape and improve the flow of the regulatory process sounded impressive until six of the seven all-time-high years for federal regulation occurred during his tenure. Obama lied too.

Image result for image of regulatory rollbackWe’ve experienced four decades of nonstop growth in federal regulation. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is more than 175,000 pages long, having grown steadily since the 1970s.

Understand that federal regulations aren’t just words on paper. Those 175,000+ pages include more than one million commandments from Washington in the form of restrictive words such as “must,” “cannot,” or “shall.”

Candidate Trump promised to change that and Prresident Trump’s first 100 days give us reason to hope this trend is about to change. President Trump has already issued two executive orders on regulatory reform that informed executive branch agencies that regulatory restrictions on businesses will not be able to keep growing on autopilot. Trump’s hiring freeze will also help lower the rate of new regulations. As research from the Mercatus Center has shown, there is a high correlation between the number of employees at an agency and the number of regulations issued by that agency. President Trump has also taken advantage of the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the power to overturn recently finalized regulations through a simple majority vote. He has signed at least 13 such repeals. (By the way, this tool had been successfully used only once in its 20-year history.)  I doubt he’ll be able to keep his lofty promise to cut regulation by 75% or more, but just halting the growth in federal regulations would be a massive achievement.

The president has several methods available to him to accomplish this. Moving into the next phase of his first term, there are three main legislative solutions that President Trump can use to follow through on his promises to cut regulation. These solutions address the accumulation of old regulations, the creation of costly new regulations, and the lack of public participation in the regulatory process.

Get rid of outdated, ineffective regulations.

Both the Regulatory Improvement Act and the SCRUB Act create a “Regulatory Improvement Commission” to come up with a package of older regulations to eliminate that would then go through Congress for an up-or-down vote. Focusing on older regulations would take some of the politics out of regulatory reform, and voting on a large package in this way would limit the ability of established interests to interfere with the process. Because figuring out what regulations to cut requires weighing costs and benefits, addressing regulatory accumulation also requires that proposed federal regulations undergo basic cost-benefit analyses. Currently, most regulations coming from Washington are never subjected to this commonsense test. Don’t believe me. In 2014, only 16 of the 3,500+ rules published in the Federal Register underwent cost analyses. Since 2001, fewer than three out of every 1,000 regulations have had an accompanying cost-benefit analysis. The resulting lack of information creates an incomplete picture of the total regulatory burden on the economy.


Slow the nonstop growth in new, costly regulations.

While a regulatory improvement commission would help lower the economic drag from decades of regulatory accumulation, we really need to reverse the destructive effects that the autopilot nature of federal regulation has on the economy. Federal regulations cost the economy $1.9 trillion each year, which comes out to about $15,000 per U.S. household. The Trump administration could begin to turn the tide by supporting the REINS Act, which would give Congress authorization for voice approval or override within 70 days if a major regulation with more than $100 million in annual economic costs is to take effect. This would invert the current system, under which regulations take effect unless Congress takes the time to stop them. To understand this dynamic, recognize that there have been 29 times more regulations issued by agencies than laws passed by Congress since 2009. The REINS Act has overwhelming support from Republicans, and it has already passed the House. President Trump could have a chance to sign it into law before the year is over.


Infuse unprecedented transparency into the regulatory process.

To further strengthen his opposition to runaway executive-agency powers, President Trump can encourage Congress to consider legislation such as the Regulatory Predictability for Business Growth Act, which was introduced in 2015 but did not pass. This bill would require agency interpretations that are in effect for longer than a year to go through the general notice and comment provisions required under the Administrative Procedure Act. Administrators’ interpretations are meant only to provide guidance for complying with existing regulations, so they are considered exempt from the full regulatory-review process required under the Administrative Procedure Act. Agencies increasingly use blog posts, press conferences, and guidance documents to substantially alter the meaning of existing regulations. Returning agency interpretation to its proper role as guidance rather than lawmaking would help reintroduce public participation and openness into the regulatory process. And, if President Trump is seeking a legacy, this change will last long after he has left office.

Excessive regulation holds back the United States’ economic potential. President Trump appears to understand that dramatic reforms to the regulatory state are required to overcome the sluggish economy he has inherited. Fixing the regulatory system so that it no longer drags on the economy will certainly take longer than 100 days, but President Trump is off to a nice start.

Another Week, Another 65 New Regulations | Ryan Young   Leave a comment

Found on FEE – Ryan Young Wednesday December 7, 2016

Image result for image of red tapeAs the Federal Register climbed above 87,000 pages for the first time in its 81-year history, agencies issued new rules ranging from landfills to movie theaters.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 85 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
  • With 3,454 final regulations published so far in 2016, the federal government is on pace to issue 3,722 regulations in 2016. Last year’s total was 3,406 regulations.
  • Last week, 2,006 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,292 pages the previous week.
  • Currently at 87,297 pages, the 2016 Federal Register is on pace for 94,071 pages. This would exceed the 2010 Federal Register’s previous all-time record adjusted page count of 81,405.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 30 such rules have been published so far in 2016, one in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $23.5 billion to $36.2 billion.
  • 277 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published this year.
  • So far in 2016, 580 new rules affect small businesses; 99 of them are classified as significant.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

Source: Another Week, Another 65 New Regulations | Ryan Young

How Government Encourages Food Waste | Baylen Linnekin   Leave a comment

Dumped cherriesCountries around the world are enacting new legislation to combat food waste. Hidden behind many of these government campaigns to reduce food waste is the frequent cause of that food waste: other government regulations.

Source: How Government Encourages Food Waste | Baylen Linnekin

Tyranny By Another Other Name   Leave a comment

I like free speech and I like privacy. In fact, I think free speech depends on privacy.


Too bad the US government absolutely sucks at protecting our privacy.  Glenn Greenwald’s new book No Place To Hide reveals that the U.S. government tampers with Internet routers during the manufacturing process to aid its spying programs.


Do you really trust the government with control over the Internet? We know from the Fairness Doctrine that the government didn’t trust the media outlets to police themselves, so we can be sure that the government will need to technically verify whether the telecoms are treating data as they should, which will mean installing its own hardware and software at critical points to monitor Internet traffic.


We already know that , once installed, our government (and any other government able to hack in) will not use this access for benign purposes. They didn’t in the past. Why would they change their behavior now?


Oh, but you like Barack Obama and the current Chair of the FCC and you’re not worried that they will invade YOUR privacy or infringe upon YOUR freedom of speech. What happens if Jeb Bush is elected to the White House? What if Republicans remain in control of the House and Senate? That changes the dynamic a bit, doesn’t it?


If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. – James Madison, The Federalist No. 51


I used to believe the US government was a benevolent and wise parent looking out for the best interests of society. When Jimmy Carter violated Alaska’s Statehood Compact and the provisions of ANILCA, I got real-world woke up. I see the US government as a dangerous tyrant, influenced by large corporations, seeking to control everyone and everything.


At the crux of the debate between proponents and opponents of Net Neutrality are that some of us have become aware that Skynet exists and others of you still want to live in dreamland.You want to believe that the US government is all-knowing with good intentions that will never change without your permission and all will be well. I don’t believe that because I look to history and see Woodrow Wilson outlawing political dissent and FDR locking up US citizens of Japanese ancestry. The US government topples elected democracies, fights unjust wars and interferes in world affairs. It executes American citizens in violation of 5th Amendment rights.


I don’t trust the government. It doesn’t matter which party is “in” at the moment because I’m convinced they’re two sides of the same coin called tyranny.


Regulations can start out with the best of intentions, but when enough red tape accumulates, we drown in it regardless. That leads to less freedom for us individually and for society as a whole.

Crony Capitalism & the Internet   Leave a comment

Were you happy with your doctor and did you get to keep him? Were you happy with your insurance policy and do you still have it? Have your premiums gone down … or up?

Yeah … the ACA is a cautionary tale of what happens when large corporations and government get into bed with one another. The ACA was written by large medical corporations behind closed doors in collusion with our elected representatives and, with a few notable exceptions, it has largely been a disaster.

So now we have Net Neutrality. Do we think it wasn’t written in a way that will make it harder for new companies to offer Internet service?

If I wasn’t a broke novelist taking informed pot shots from the cheap seats, I’d bet money that the telecoms now have an effective tool against smaller, more efficient competitors and that consumers will have few options for Internet service.

Oh, but you believe the politicians who say that if they hadn’t stepped in things would be much worse?

In a truly free market, telecoms like Comcast and Time Warner would have to adjust their practices or go out of business. They’d be replaced by options that would give us better service at lower prices. Some of the new options would depend on taking advantage of the freedom to charge more for certain types of Internet … which is exactly what Net Neutrality seeks to eliminate.

Barriers to competition tend to work in the favor of large corporations which can more easily afford to forego profits in the short term in order to profit in the long term. This sort of predatory capitalism blocks the smaller companies out of the market and leaves the field wide open for the larger companies that helped to write the regulations in the first place.


But hey, don’t take my word for it. Go research it for yourself.

Net Neutrality   2 comments

Looking through Facebook posts and watching the news, you might get the idea that everyone is for “Net Neutrality”.

I’m not. It just became the regulatory law of the land, but I oppose it.

I’m not a paid shill for the cable industry, I don’t even have cable television. I have zero experience with Comcast, but I occasionally grumble about GCI, an Alaska ISP. I’m skeptical of large corporations and dislike that true capitalists end up sounding like we’re supporting them, because I’m not. I’m supporting me and people like me and I’m learning from the past so I don’t repeat it.

Remember what I wrote about the Fairness Doctrine. Consider these to be companion pieces.

I have no problem with net neutrality as a principle. Unrestricted access to the Internet is a net good, but I don’t think this is a wise way to go about it – in fact, I don’t think it’s going to work at all.

Competition is a good thing. Proponents of Net Neutrality say the telecoms have too much power … and I agree. Monopolies are bad, always.

So why do we think giving a monopoly to the government is somehow going to work out well?

Think about it a moment.

The United States government built a health care website using a budget equal to Facebook’s first six years of operating costs and this website doesn’t work even after several attempts to fix it.

The federal government spends 320 times what private industry spends launching a rocket into space.

Has the involvement of the federal government improved public schools? Well, test results compared to other countries suggest not.

How about immigration?


Bridges and highways?

The military?

The post office?

All these examples are heavily regulated or controlled by the government and all are areas mired in red tape and struggling to survive the realities of the 21st century.

On the other hand, telephone services were deregulated a few decades ago. The industry almost immediately responded with cell phones the size of bread boxes, but look where we are today?

The US government has repeatedly shown that it is ineffective at managing … well, everything. Which is as it was designed. Our Founders didn’t trust government, so they created one that is slow, inefficient and mired in gridlock. That way government is slow enough for people to protect their individual liberty from its usurpations. Well, we could if we bothered to pay attention, anyway.

It’s actually a plus that our government is slow, because it gives us time to rein it in before it eats our liberty, but the downside is that slow inefficient government cannot be relied upon to provide us with the high quality products and services we want in a timely manner.

Everything that makes the telecoms bad has to do with the federal government and the regulatory structure that links the telecoms to government. What? You didn’t know that?

Government regulations are written by large corporate interests in collussion with officials in government. The image of government being full of people on a mission to protect the little guy from predatory corporate behemoths is a Mad Man illusion fostered by politicians and corporate interests. Most government regulations are the product of crony capitalism designed to prevent small entrepreneurs from becoming real threats to large corporations.

Go on! Go research it, find out I’m right and come back for more discussion.

In the Pipeline   Leave a comment

Hundreds of costly new regulations are also in the planning stages, many of which derive from the Dodd–Frank statute, Obamacare, and the EPA’s global warming crusade.

The most recent Unified Agenda—a semi-annual compendium of planned regulatory actions by agencies—lists 2,305 rules (proposed and final) in the pipeline. Of these, 131 are classified as “economically significant.” This is two less than the number pending in the previous agenda (fall 2011), and still high by historical standards. This year’s 131 “economically significant” rules represent an increase of 133% from the 56 identified in 2001.

An unusually large number of rules are pending at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the Administration’s regulatory review office. According to the latest OIRA data, 81 of the 150 regulations awaiting review have been pending for more than 90 days, exceeding the maximum time allotted under Executive Order 12866. Another seven were pending for more than 60 days (but fewer than 90 days).

Action on some of the Administration’s most ambitious regulations was postponed last year, including more stringent requirements for controlling ozone emissions. As proposed by the EPA, the rule would cost $90 billion or more annually and, potentially, millions of jobs. However, the President reportedly instructed then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to hold off on the new standards until 2013, which means these items are due to come up any day now.

Also on hold were various regulations to control power plant emissions of so-called greenhouse gases that would dramatically increase energy costs, as well as the designation of coal ash as a “hazardous substance”—estimated to cost $79 billion to $110 billion and thousands of jobs.

If the delays in rulemaking were the result of more thorough analyses or consideration of regulatory alternatives, that would be good news for the economy and consumers. But there is no indication that the Administration has embraced a newfound skepticism toward red tape. In fact, the regulations are expected to emerge again this year, evidently regarded by the Administration as more advantageous timing — as in post-election.

Now that Obama has a second term, expect more and bigger regulation and far more red-tape.

Energy Strangulation   Leave a comment

There are a whole host of topics where administrative entanglement strangles American opportunity.

For example:

This could be an energy golden age for the United States.

Less than a half decade ago, it looked as if the United States might run out of domestic natural gas. Companies built facilities to import liquefied supplies. Today, the technological advances of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has generated a remarkable energy boom, created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S., and unlocked more than 100 years’ worth of natural gas at current consumption rates while simultaneously providing access to  more crude oil. Lower natural gas prices are saving Americans money on their heating and electricity bills and providing lower product prices. Meanwhile, chemical and other manufacturing companies are making plans to expand domestically thanks to abundant feedstocks, as natural gas is a vital input for many businesses.

Oil companies are eager to drill off America’s coasts and on more than the small percentage of public land available to them. Increasing access would allow oil companies to create jobs and bring more oil to the market, which in turn would help to lower gasoline prices and raise government revenue without raising tax rates.  The 497 billion tons of recoverable coal in the United States is enough to provide electricity for 500 years at current consumption rates and could be an important resource long into the future. We have barely tapped the possibilities of nuclear power, which generates affordable, emissions-free electricity. Yet gasoline prices remain incredibly high, hydraulic fracturing is on the verge of being regulated out of existence, and we have not built a nuclear power plant in three decades.


The federal government is holding back the economy by promoting policies and regulations that disfavor oil, nuclear, coal, and natural gas. Government regulations significantly restrict the market’s effectiveness in developing resources and responding to changes in energy prices, making it difficult for suppliers of all types of energy to produce energy and create jobs. This leads to higher prices at the pump and at home, fewer lucrative jobs in the energy sector, and diminished economic growth, which politicians then use to justify more failed big-government policies. The ostensible purpose of these restrictive energy policies is to protect the environment.

America’s air and water is the cleanest it’s been since the start of the Industrial Revolution. That’s a good thing. Working to make our use of affordable energy sources cleaner and more efficient, based on sound science, is a wise approach. Regrettably, government’s approach to its environmental goals is all wrong. For one thing, liberals in Congress and the White House pushed for cap-and-trade policies to address climate change even though the Environmental Protection Agency’s own administrator acknowledged that the program would have no discernible effect on global emissions levels and thus temperature. Following the defeat of cap-and-trade legislation in Congress, the EPA is pushing heavy-handed regulations on cars, power plants, and factories that will be costly to American families without delivering any real environmental benefit. In tight budgetary times, Washington continually subsidizes politically preferred energy sources such as wind and solar at a substantial loss to taxpayers. The problem is that almost all of these policies rely on outdated central planning to micromanage energy production, environmental protection, and natural resource management, resulting in reduction of energy access, supplies, and innovation while increasing energy prices. These policies deliver little in tangible environmental protection and benefit, while we end up paying more for energy. The environment is no better off for it. When it comes to federal policies, the United States government has been on the wrong path concerning energy and the environment even as the private sector is on the cusp of an energy revolution.

Washington needs to change and adapt to reality. Americans want more energy that is more affordable and brings more sustainable jobs to the economy while also maintaining a clean and safe environment. Policymakers can deliver both by pursuing energy and environmental policies that are reasonable and market-based, relying on private initiative and stewardship rather than heavy-handed government regulation and endless cash infusions from Washington.

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