As of this writing – 8:21 a.m. Tuesday March 4, 2014 – there exist 174,545 total pages in the Code of Federal Regulations. 6,669 regulatory changes or notices were posted on http://www.regulations.gov over the last three month period – an average of 74 per day. Today – March 4, 2014 — there are 3,503 federal regulations in the pipeline.
More than half of American small-business owners today say that with the current regulatory environment they would not start a business. More than half also say that countries like China and India are more-small-business-friendly and supportive than is the United States. 283,615 full-time government employees are dedicated to drafting and enforcing federal regulations. A recent study estimates annual regulatory compliance costs at $1.8 trillion — exceeding half of all total federal expenditures, as well as Canada’s or Mexico’s GDP.
Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution asserts that for government to place any a priori proscription on individual liberty said limitation must first pass the “necessary and proper” test. A great example is the prohibition on “yelling fire in a crowded theater”. Not in an uncrowded theater, not in an outdoor stadium, not saying or whispering, not “smoke” rather than “fire”. I estimate that 174,543 regulatory pages today cannot pass the test and, thus, should and must be repealed.
The executive branch of the U.S. Government is to execute and enforce laws passed by Congress and signed by the president, not to employ 283,615 people to write regulations which replace and substitute for laws passed by the congress elected by We the People.
Here is just one of tens-of-thousands of regulations which have hurt America, its businesses, its consumers, its freedom and liberty. Seatbelts. Volvo back in the day was known as “boxey” and positioned in consumer minds as the “safe vehicle”. Men bought it to do their duty to protect their families. Innovating to strengthen its brand, Volvo engineers invented and designed the automobile seatbelt.
Regulators at the U.S. Department of Transportation Highway Safety Division leapt to attention, studied them, developed detailed specs to the point of minutia, then mandated that every motor vehicle thereinafter built using public highways and byways in America include them. On that day all innovation engineering activity vis-à-vis individual auto restraints ceased. Why cripple innovation and creativity? Power and control.
If We the People get congress to eliminate, say, 283,614 regulators and repeal 174,543 regulatory pages, will that fix America? Necessary but grossly-insufficient. Congress itself has proved itself perfectly capable and willing to plunder freedom and liberty in pursuit of power and control.
It was congress, inspired by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who passed “Great Society” including its War on Poverty. From the end of World War II to 1964 the rate of poverty in America was cut in half. Fully 94% of that reduction was explainable by increases in per capita income. Expansion of the economy. Relative freedom. A rising tide, indeed, floated all boats. Absent the War on Poverty, the poverty rate projection for 2011 was 1.4%, down from 15% in 1964. It bottomed in 1999 at about 11% and as of 2011 was back at 15%. The cost to American taxpayers to achieve nothing-nil-nada-zero-zip-zilch was a mere $15,000,000,000,000 (that’s trillion).