Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Congress must do to rein in regulators

Federal agencies are 'fiefdoms that reign over private industries'

Last summer, at the first meeting of the Trump Leadership Council – an advisory group consisting of top CEOs from major companies – Donald Trump asked business leaders what their biggest problems were.   I expected the answer to be America’s anti-growth tax system.

Almost all the CEOs did list the federal tax code as an albatross, but not the heaviest one. Instead, I was surprised to learn, most found the biggest restraint on growth to be federal red tape and regulation. Across all industries – manufacturers, energy firms, financial services, agriculture interests – federal rules were seen as mindless, inefficient, costly and incomprehensible.........The excuse from Congress is that there are so many rules and regulations that the House and Senate can’t possibly approve every one of them. Well, it’s true that there are tens of thousand of these edicts. But isn’t that the crux of the problem?

A bigger problem is that agencies have become arrogant with power and desensitized to the impact of their litany of “thou shalls” and “thou shall nots.” Martha Kent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration once put the attitude of these bureaucrats succinctly: “As long as I’m regulating, I’m happy.” She said she “absolutely loves” putting out “a reg” and that she was “born to regulate.” This sounds like someone who is clueless about private industry. .......Read more

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