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November 25, 2014

Too Much Regulation? There Oughta be a Law | Madisonville

Too Much Regulation? There Oughta be a Law | Madisonville

Rep. Kevin Brady, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, underlined his solemnity of purpose on Wednesday by noting that congressional hearings too often get titled merely to attract attention. So he called his hearing: “The First Step to Cutting Red Tape: Better Analysis. ” If the number of people in the room was an indication, he succeeded in not attracting attention.

Two Minnesotans were enough to account for a third of the congressional participation, and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen hijacked a good chunk of time to promote the state’s medical device industry, described by some as “Minnesota’s medical alley.” That’s a fine echo of Silicon Valley if you can block out the image of used syringes littering a poorly lit street.

Red Tape is something all political denominations can agree on.  The pejorative Red Tape is one cue about how to think about it.  Better Analysis is just as uncontroversial, as long as everybody overlooks the reality that Better Analysis is the kind that supports the already established view of one side or another.

This being Congress, of course, the road to reduced Red Tape is paved by … new Red Tape. Mandated by new laws. And executed by a new office of federal employees tasked with regulating the regulators, or at least keeping an eye on them. If you can fight fire with fire, the theory seems to be, you can fight regulation with regulation.

And so the panel discussed requiring a cost-benefit analysis before any regulations can be adopted or forcing retrospective reviews of regulations or creating a federal counterweight to the regulatory instinct of existing agencies. This sounded like a federal employment program for economists and accountants.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat playing the role of gadfly, observed that lots of regulations are designed to prevent a recurrence of some disaster that recently happened and for which economists aren’t going to be able to quantify costs and benefits.

Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, wondered whether Congress could pass a law saying that only Congress could enact new regulations. Wouldn’t THAT be fun? How about the Clearing Our Regulatory Restraints to Unleash Productive Talent Act? One witness poured cold water on the idea by pointing out Congress isn’t particularly well equipped to assess regulatory impact.

Brady thought Congress needs to figure out how to solve the problem of agency bias. In simple terms, this is the tendency at, say, the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food and Drug Administration, to think that regulations of, say, the environment or food and drugs are a way to solve problems. Curing that habit doesn’t look promising.

Sen. Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican, sensed the futility of such hearings when he wondered how everybody in Washington can agree on the need for less regulation and still never manage to reduce regulation. There needs to be a change in the mindset, he said.

Congress could always pass a law.

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  • YONATAN C

    The Republican party has done a huge disservice to itself, for taking the position against the unemployment extension bill in the senate. With 2.6 Million angry potential voters having been affected by their refusal to pass the bill; the coming election will prove to be the Republican’s downfall. These families were left hung out to dry since late last December, and they will not forget the anguish that they have suffered because of it. Many of these families have become ruined financially, they have witnessed their credit being destroyed, they have faced evictions, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy, and homelessness. How can they not forget which party was at fault for this? The Republicans have been using these families for political leverage, and bargaining chips, to further their party’s political agenda. They have shown their party’s true distain for the Average American family, and the suffering that these families have been going through being jobless without benefits to support their children. Senators like John Boehner are what makes the Republican party look bad in the people’s eyes. As a “FORMER” Republican of many years, I can honestly say that I will NEVER vote for another Republican again, and actively persuade my friends and family not to likewise. The Republican party will find itself VOTED OUT in the next election

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