The regulatory state is out of control, too many rules, killing jobs, crushing the American Dream

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The American economy feels like it’s swimming through molasses. All the regulations business must deal with now are sapping the strength of the private sector. And it’s not even like the regulations agree with one another. There are so many regs it is literally impossible for businesses to remain compliant. Follow one rule issued by one agency and violate the rules of another in so doing. Then hope and pray the latter agency doesn’t decide to make a stink.

This is reality for many businesses in America. From farming to manufacturing to call centers to law firms to hospitals to broker/dealers. Everyone must wade through the bureaucratic muck. It is no wonder why our economy struggles to get in gear. The government has far overstepped its place in society and it is now killing the productive part of the economy.

Are all regulations bad? No. Is the American regulatory state now an absurd comedy of legal graft, crony posturing, and arbitrary economic destruction? Yes. Absolutely. 

(From The Manhattan Institute)

In 2013, the number of rules and regulations promulgated by executive agencies was 50 times greaterthan the number of laws passed by Congress and signed by President Obama that year. While the authority to make these pronouncements may be sanctioned by past laws, when associated costs are considered, many would not stand up to Congressional scrutiny in up-or-down votes.

Regulatory imbalance has created a Code of Federal Regulations that is over 175,000 pages long. People have to navigate an increasing number of regulations, some of which are contradictory. For instance, the National Labor Relations Board has just issued a definition of independent contractor that differs from the definition put out by the Labor Department, which is different from the definition of the Internal Revenue Service. The principle of law that can be reasonably followed by normal citizens has been left behind.

Recent additions to Washington’s regulatory labyrinth include regulations that accompany Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act. While both are massive laws, they are small when compared to the pages of regulation that accompany them. For Dodd-Frank, there are over 20,000 pages of regulation (and growing) written by executive agencies, though the text of the law itself is “just” 848 pages. The Affordable Care Act also came in at just under 1,000 pages, but it is estimated that it, too, has spawnedover 20,000 pages of regulation.

These pages are not just legal rambling. They contain over a million restrictions in the form of words such as “must”, “cannot”, or “shall,” many contradictory. Since the 1970s, regardless of which political party was in power, all this number has done is increase.

This is a recipe for economic malaise.

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