Americans with common sense would agree that understanding and resolving the problems described in this column are essential. But that is not currently happening. Otherwise, out-of-control regulatory stifling of the U.S. economy would not exist. So, it is time for you to get involved.
Read a Competitive Enterprise Institute annual report titled “Ten Thousand Commandments” to learn that federal regulatory controls are bankrupting the nation. Last year, regulations were estimated to cost $2.028 trillion, while cumulative corporate pre-tax profits were $2.208 trillion. This makes America’s regulatory world equivalent in size to the tenth-largest national economy on the planet! It makes regulatory costs of $14,976 per household, or 29% of an average family budget of $51,100. Just the publication of regulations in 2015 consumed 80,260 pages in the “Federal Register.” In 2014, there were 16 times more regulations (3,554) issued than laws (224). Federal regulations are the silent killer of the American economy.
Furthermore, the history of the federal regulatory process clearly shows growing deceit by government. In 1963, President Johnson signed the Clean Air Act, which contains a little-known proviso enabling individuals who have lost their job to ask the EPA whether its regulatory actions were at fault. Not once in the past 54 years has the EPA established this procedure, and on the few occasions when investigation was requested, it has been ignored.
Move forward to 1980 and the passage of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which requires all federal agencies to consider the impacts of their regulations on small entities. This law was prompted in part by Public Law 94-305 of June 1976 that created an Office of Advocacy within the Small Business Administration to assess the impacts of regulations. In 1977, a precursor bill passed the Senate unanimously to achieve this. In March 1996, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) amended the foregoing laws to provide “tools” for judicial review and substantive regulation analyses to be conducted by the Office of Advocacy.
There have been several additional laws to soften the burdens of regulation. These include: the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, which provides various exemptions from regulations as related to public health; and the aforementioned SBREFA. Both provide exemptions from regulations, mandate increased judicial review and decrease punitive actions against small businesses that seek redress from regulatory actions.
In August 2002, President Bush issued Executive Order 13272, which requires federal agencies to establish written procedures and policies explaining how the impacts of each regulatory-proposed written policy will impact (small) businesses/entities across the nation. Do you expect government help to follow law and render assistance?
As you should understand, the foregoing is, for all practical purposes, nothing but blather. It is certainly time for American business people to call their Congressman and both Senators and require them to assure that existing law is upheld and that regulatory justice and reform is desperately needed. Make them understand the critical nature and immediacy of required action.
Not only does America have this horrendous problem with regulations stifling the economy, the size of government is an equivalent problem. As the public will see this spring while the budget process unfolds, the U.S. has a 1.3 million non-defense, civilian workforce. The government instituted rules under the prior (Obama) Administration that allows conversion of political appointees to civil-service employment status. So, the nation is faced with a residual population of former political appointees who have converted to regular employee status and are hard at work blanketing our country with the regulations you were just reading about.
As Congressional budget matters come to the fore in May, I suggest that you inform your elected members of Congress that regulation problems are being made worse by the former politicians now planted in agencies to carry forward the fight that diminishes America and demand that they fix the real-world problems of our regulatory nightmares.