Free Markets, Free People

over regulation


Its official–a supermajority think we’re over-regulated

And frankly, I think they’re right:

– There is little appetite among American voters for additional regulations coming out of Washington.  Three quarters (74%) of voters throughout the country believe that businesses and consumers are over-regulated.  Further, another two thirds (67%) believe that regulations have increased over the past few years.   These percentages include majorities of all partisan affiliations, with 91% of Republicans, 75% of Independents and 58% of Democrats saying businesses/consumers are over-regulated.

Now you may argue that “over-regulation” may mean different things to different groups.  However in each case the term “over” has specific meaning – it means there’s too much regulation.  While they may argue about the degree of over-regulation, it appears that each and every group sees over-regulation in the same and proper light.

– A key fear among voters is that regulations will hinder job creation, as most believe the result of new regulation will be either job losses (47%) or increased prices for American made goods and services (22%).

Or both.  You see, businesses will absorb only so much (job losses) before passing along the cost of regulatory compliance in the cost of their goods and services.  We’re well past the first part in this recession.  Businesses are about as lean and mean as they can stand to be and still function well.  Additional regulatory cost, then, is likely to be passed on to consumers – another among many reasons consumer confidence is down.

– More than two thirds (70%) believe increasing the number of regulations on American businesses will result in more jobs moving overseas.  Also, majorities agree that the increasing number of regulations have created uncertainty for large and small businesses (66%), and that agencies who enforce regulations fail to consider how their decisions lead to increased prices for consumers and job losses (69%).

All three of these beliefs among those polled is on the money.   The amount of regulation is a key consideration for businesses when they assess a business climate.  Their cost is calculated in the cost of doing business there.  And when that cost is deemed to be too much or too unreasonable, businesses look around for a less costly place to establish themselves.  We’ve seen this right here in the US as states with more regulation and higher taxes lose businesses to states that impose a less costly regime of taxes and regulations.  They don’t call the Midwest the “Rust Belt” for nothing.

And those polled are right when they say they believe those who impose regulations “fail to consider how their decisions lead to increased prices for consumers and job losses”.  But while regulators may not consider it, voters apparently do:

– One of the highest points of agreement in the survey is the fact that 73% concur that “every time the federal government mandates a new regulation on America’s large and small business, the prices of American made good and services like gasoline and food go up.”  Only 22% supported the view that “while many federal regulations might be just another burden to operations of America’s large and small businesses, customers do not see major cost increases for American made goods and services like gasoline and food.”

In a study, The Small Business Association found that the regulatory burden on small business in this country was quite high:

The research finds that the cost of federal regulations totals $1.1 trillion; the cost per employee for firms with fewer than 20 employees is $7,647.

Under 20 employees is indeed a “small business” yet most would agree, $7,647 in compliance costs per employee is a lot of money.  It is over $140,000 for the 20 employee firm.  That money has to be made up somewhere, just to break even, much less turn a profit.   And it is clear that depending on the type of firm and needs of the employer, any number of employees could be hired for that amount.  And don’t forget, small businesses account for about 80% of the jobs in the US.

So it is clear that there’s a tremendous regulatory burden that has been placed on the businesses of America that most feel over-regulate them and cost jobs and increase prices. 

There’s a move afoot within the Obama administration to cut regulation.  That’s a good thing.  But we have to remember, it’s the Obama administration where they usually talk the talk and never walk the walk.   One way to get the economy moving is to lift some of the burdensome regulation and its related costs.

So who should be leading this charge?  The executive branch.  And, as the poll indicates, most voters don’t understand that it is at that branch the buck stops.  But they are clear in what they want – much more consideration and an amended approval process before new regulations are imposed:

– Voters are simply unaware that Congress is not in a lead position with regard to regulation, as a majority say that Congress (52%) creates regulations. However, there is a strong desire for checks and balances in creating regulations, as two thirds (65%) favor requiring regulations be approved by Congress and the President before they are enforced.  Voters do not want a regulatory process that takes away legislative duties reserved for Congress – just as they do not want judges legislating from the bench.  This strong support for Congressional involvement is consistent across partisan groups, including among Democrats (67%), Republicans (65%) and Independents (64%).

Of course that would mean that most oppose the unilateral imposition of new regulation by the executive branch as we’ve seen during this administration. 

All that is not to say that at some level, most Americans see some necessity for regulation:

– There are some positive connections to regulations, with solid majorities saying they are positively impacted by those that require certain safety levels for drinking water (72%) or require controls to ensure better safety at schools and in the workplace (66%).

But, not like this:

– When presented with a lengthy explanation of the Boeing case — where the federal government has filed a lawsuit over the their motivations for locating a new facility in the non-union state of South Carolina — fully 78% of voters side with Boeing in agreeing that a business should be able to open a facility in any state, and that the government should not be involve in the decision about where Boeing or any company locates new plants.

A very interesting poll, and one that needs to be in front of every politician and department executive in government.  Back off, unchain the engine of prosperity and listen to the people.   They’re pretty clear here in what they want.  A less costly and intrusive regulatory regime and government out of places it doesn’t belong – like in the Boeing example.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


The regulatory (and legal) attacks on private property

Witness the story about the DOT proposing a new rule that would require all operators of farm equipment to hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). That would also require all the paperwork and cost that goes with it (while small family farms try to comply with rules, costs and regulations designed for semi-truck drivers). Here’s a video to help explain the story:

 

 

Of course, saying that the idea is "absurd" has simply lost its impact in this sea of absurdity. Absurd, it seems, is the new normal.  Along with the environmental movement’s success in limiting land use, to include land owned privately, as well as the Kelo decision giving much broader eminent domain powers to governments, property rights have never been more in peril.   And property rights, whether you want to believe it or not, are fundamental to our other rights.

Now we have another attack on property rights – you’ll no longer have the right to decide who can drive what on your private property.   The tradition of family farms – which relies on everyone in the family to succeed – is now about to irrevocably regulated away.

Some more details about what this means:

The proposed change also means ANYONE driving a tractor or operating any piece of motorized farming equipment would be forced to pass the same rigorous tests and fill out the same detailed forms and diaries required of semi-tractor trailer drivers. This reclassification would bury small farms and family farms in regulation and paperwork.

Some of the additional paperwork and regulation required:

-Detailed logs would need to be kept by all drivers – hours worked, miles traveled, etc.

-Vehicles would have to display DOT numbers

-Drivers would need to pass a physical as well as a drug test – every two years.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF) is one of many farm organizations not happy about the idea and has sent the DOT a letter expressing this opinion:

“WFBF opposes any change in statue or regulatory authority that would reclassify implements of husbandry or other farm equipment as Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs)”

WFBF Director of Governmental Relations Karen Gefvert continues, explaining the excessive cost to farmers if this allowed to move forward:

“The proposed guidance by the FMCSA would result in an initial increased cost to each Wisconsin farmer and employee of $124 just for the CDL license, permit and test; not to mention the time and cost for the behind-the-wheel training that is several thousand dollars.”

Additionally, Illinois farmers believe this regulation will also force new restrictions on trucks used in crop-share hauling. (One estimate claims more than 30% of Illinois farmers utilize shared land.) These crop-share trucks are typically limited-use vehicles that often travel fewer than 3000 miles each year, mainly hauling crops from the fields to nearby grain elevators. To require them to follow the same rules as semis would also mean a farmer would be forced to purchase substantial insurance.

If you want to find a way to drive individually owned farmers out of business, adding absolutely unnecessary requirements and costs is a great way to start.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do want to point to something that I’ve known about an watched over the years.   It’s called “Agenda 21” and it is a UN program first signed on too by George H.W. Bush in 1992.  Here’s some of the disturbing verbiage driving that agenda:

Land… cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of society as a whole. -  Source: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I),Vancouver, BC, May 31 – June 11, 1976. Preamble to Agenda Item 10 of the Conference Report.

That has pretty much been a guiding principle in the UN’s agenda for decades, obviously, and now in it’s Agenda 21.  We, apparently, along with 177 other world leaders, signed on to this anti-American (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word) agenda.  George Soros is a huge backer of the initiative, and I’ve found, over the years, if Soros is for something, freedom is surely going to take a beating.  I’m not saying that there’s an active, agenda driven group that is purposely trying to implement this agenda.  I am saying though that this agenda can and may be used as a self-justification for various officials at differing levels of government to implement its principles because they believe in them.

You can read a bit about it here.   Bottom line, of course, is it is against private ownership and as we saw in Kelo private ownership was indeed “a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.”  So instead of upholding individual property rights, the court opted to give governments at all levels broader power to take private property.

This new requirement from DOT is somewhat different.   It actually takes power from states and localities and centralizes it.   By making farm machinery something which must be regulated by the federal government, it usurps that local and state power in favor of broader federal regulation.  Of course the loser here is the farmer who must now face the cost, lost productivity and bureaucratic record keeping and other compliance costs of something which has never been and shouldn’t now be any concern of the Federal government.

This isn’t the only example of these sorts of attacks.  You have the EPA attempting to expand beyond its mandate.   And other bureaucracies are as well.   And it isn’t just limited to the federal level.   At every level there’s some government bureaucrat trying to find ways to control your property or tell you how you must live on it.  In one of the silliest, but obviously serious attempts (the property owner was threatened with 93 days in jail for non-compliance with some vague city ordnance), we see a city manager going way beyond what most reasonable people would find, well, reasonable:

 

Thankfully, public pressure made the boob back off, but I have little doubt in my mind he’d have jailed the woman if left to his own devices.  “Agenda 21” stuff – eh, probably not.   Tin-pot dictator’s syndrome?  Probably.  But regardless, a threat to property rights.

Our property rights are dying the death of a thousand cuts.   We need to push back and push back hard against infringements on a local level (the garden) as well as the national level (DOT and EPA regulatory power grabs).

Otherwise, when they decide they can control the temperature in your house automatically (as they’ve tried in CA), you won’t have a legal leg to stand on.  Right now they’re both wooden and government termites are busily at work.

[HT: @Longhawl]

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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