Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Regulations and the Economy

By Rich Kozlovich

I know that I am really dating myself, but when I was a kid my grandfather used to love to watch a weekly news show called The Ev and Charlie Show.  It was a bit like Crossfire, except that they understood the concept of good manners.

Everett Dirkson was a gravelly voiced smooth tongued Senator from Illinois who died in 1969.  He made a statement that is still one of the most famous and much quoted statements when it comes to government taxing and spending. He said:  “A billion here and a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Dirkson was considered a conservative when it came to fiscal matters, but a liberal when it came to social matters and yet voted consistently to expand regulations. It makes one wonder how anyone can be intellectually honest and think that expanding the size of government and increasing regulations will cost less money, or be spent more wisely on more regulations. Perhaps the statement he should have posed is this:  A few regulations here and a few regulations there and the first thing you know you have tyranny.

It is clear that there are many who have two clearly divergent opinions on the same subject in their heads at the same time and believe they are both correct. Is it any wonder we have so many in the pest control industry think that IPM or Green Pest Control is a good thing? Is it any wonder that so many in pest control believe the Montreal Protocol is based on real science, and believe that the Kyoto Accords are about global warming and not global governance? Worse yet, we have many that believe going along and getting along with the activists will be good for our industry. Talk about having two diametrically opposing views in one’s head at the same time and believing they are both correct, this is certainly the case.

In an article by Bjorn Lomborg regarding regulations, legislators, science and activists he states;  “Among many activists, regulators and legislators, there is a pervasive myth that a little over-regulation never hurt anybody. But a "little" here and a "little" there adds up. The reality is that today regulation exacts societal costs whose magnitude is almost unimaginable. According to a recent analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, U.S. regulatory costs in 2005 were approximately $1.13 trillion, equal to almost half of all of the government's discretionary, entitlement and interest spending ($2.47 trillion), and much larger than the sum of all corporate pre-tax profits -- $874 billion.

To paraphrase Mr. Lomborg; much of the expenditure on regulation is ill-spent on the most expensive cures that do the least good.”

Enormous amounts of money are being wasted on expensive worthless regulations; and efforts to implement IPM and Green Pest Control are among them. We won’t have to wonder and worry about how much longer this will go on though. The money is fast running out.

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