It’s Simple: Quantify the Regulatory Costs

Clyde Wayne Crews isn’t the best public speaker in the world. I know that because we brought him in for an Indiana Chamber board meeting a few years ago. Oh, he knew his subject area — the world of federal regulations — but audience members weren’t thrilled by his presentation style.

The most important part of that opening paragraph was the phrase "he knew his subject area." Crews, a policy vice president with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is right on target again with his latest writing as he takes Congress to task for the over-regulation that is threatening so many companies.

It might be easy to blame the agency regulators. But they’re only taking those steps because Congress is simply not doing its job. The partisan politics is preventing progress of any kind; then it becomes worse when our representatives abdicate their responsibility.

Crews writes:

“Ultimately, voters need the ability to hold Congress directly accountable for regulations by requiring congressional approval of new rules. Thus, legislation that will lead to costly agency rules regulating, say, lamp ballast energy efficiency may or may not make sense to a congressman who may have to vote directly to approve the accompanying costs.

“As Congress becomes more answerable for regulation, it will face greater incentives to ensure that benefits exceed costs as determined by independent analysis, rather than by agencies’ own estimates. Greater ongoing oversight might dampen the tendency to overregulate in the future, thus creating pressure for a ‘regulatory ceiling’ to parallel the fiscal debt ceiling. Regulation does not control itself, and agencies will not apply the brakes.We have to do it, through our elected representatives.”

Read more from Crews and access his full report.