Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Congressional Issues 2012
Regulatory Reform: No Silver Bullet

The 113th Congress should

  • not exceed the regulatory mandate of the Constitution

We have a huge regulatory burden in the United States. The costs of federal regulation on our economy have been estimated at over $1,000 billion per year. The Cato Institute notes,

Today, there is no greater impediment to American prosperity than the immense body of regulations chronicled in the Federal Register, and academic analysis has documented the economic inefficiencies engendered by the regulatory state. Cato's regulatory studies set forth a market-oriented vision of "regulatory rollback" that relies on the incentive forces of private property rights to create competitive markets and to provide consumer information and protection.

CATO Regulatory Issues by Topic

Representative Tom Price writes:

The cost is $1.75 trillion. Thatís the price of complying with Washington red tape ó and thatís not a misprint.

While the federal government has the responsibility to establish reasonable regulations to help protect the American people, federal rule-making is so costly and cumbersome that it actually impedes job creation and economic growth.

The second half of that sentence is undoubtedly correct. But the first half is wrong. "We the People" created the Federal Government to "protect the American people" from foreign powers like France and Britain, not from the American people themselves. Because the Constitution creates a government of enumerated powers, most of these regulations are unconstitutional.

Regulation in the Constitution

Article I, Section 8.

Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Article I, Section 9.

Clause 6: No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

Article. III. Section 2.

Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Article. IV.   Section 2.

Clause 3: No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

In May 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken on it, and it was left to the State Legislatures to proceed in the matter. In January 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a resolution providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or any three of them, should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the other States of the Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their permanent harmony; and to report to the several States such an act, relative to this great object, as, when ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually to provide for the same.

United States Senate Manual, 106th Congress-CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

There is no such thing as an "unregulated" market.

The question is not whether there will be regulation, but who will regulate?

Should there be "regulations" against selling apples for $100.00 a piece? There already are: it's called "consumer choice." Anyone attempting to sell apples for $100 when the competition is selling apples for one dollar a pound, consumer "regulation" will force the high-priced seller out of business. No fines, no prison terms: regulation by free competition.

Regulation Red Herring | Foundation for Economic Education

America became the most prosperous and admired nation in history, with the highest standard of living in history, because Americans were self-regulating. We governed ourselves according to the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," and we were free not to deal with those who did not. Choice and competition in the hands of a moral and religious people regulate the economy. We appropriately credit our prosperity to Divine Providence, the work of the "Invisible Hand."

Cato Institute Recommendations:

The 112th Congress should

  • complete the economic deregulation agenda, .focus on substantive regulatory legislation, evaluate proposed regulations against a broad range of standards in addition to the benefit/cost standard,
  • broaden the guarantee of just compensation to all property owners who are mandated to provide a public benefit, and
  • approve an omnibus regulatory reform act and a congressional Office of Regulatory Analysis only if Congress reasserts its authority to approve all final rules.

Regulation: Government Intervention

  • The USDA is debating the proper size of holes in Swiss cheese
    WASHINGTON, DC -- Department of Agriculture bureaucrats are trying to decide how big the holes in Swiss cheese should be (no, that's not a joke) -- which proves once and for all that the Washington, DC bureaucracy is an "out-of-control ... (Read More)
  • Nutrition Summit this week is the beginning of a 'War on Fatty Foods'
    WASHINGTON, DC -- A National Nutrition Summit being held in Washington, DC this week could mark the beginning of an effort by the federal government to tax, regulate, or ban fatty foods like Twinkies, cheeseburgers, and ice cream, the Libertarian ... (Read More)
  • Are Americans too dumb to fry an egg? New egg warning label suggests we are
    WASHINGTON, DC -- A new federal plan to require a cigarette-style health warning on egg cartons -- that's right: egg cartons! -- proves that government bureaucrats think Americans are too dumb to boil an egg. And that's no yolk. "The ... (Read More)
  • Is this the silliest federal regulation ever? NHTSA mandates seatbelts on golf carts
    WASHINGTON, DC -- What's next: Airbags for zambonis? Seatbelts for steamrollers? That's what Libertarians are asking after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced last week that it will start requiring seatbelts, windshields, turn signals, and rearview mirrors on ... (Read More)
  • Are sweepstakes contests really "deceptive"? Or do government lawyers just think we're dumb?
    WASHINGTON, DC -- Congratulations! You may already be a loser! That's the message the Libertarian Party wants to send to government lawyers who plan to prosecute Readers Digest over its popular sweepstakes -- and who apparently "think that Americans are ... (Read More)
  • Health official apologizes after kids' lemonade stand shut down - Sacramento Bee
We can all laugh at silly government regulations.
Until a government agent walks in your front door and tells you
A lien has been put on your house
Your wages are being garnished
Your business will have to close for 120 days
You will be fined $10,000 per day
You are going to be locked in prison with a sociopathic felon for one year.
All for violating an arbitrary government regulation that defies common sense and logic.

The Regulation Home Page,
a comprehensive source of regulatory studies, statistics, & information

Government Regulation Cost Report

Regulatory Reform: No Silver Bullet Cato