Sunday, August 21, 2011

Too Much Federal Regulation

A recent new article has a stunning graph that shows the increase in Federal regulators.  Those were not the "shovel ready" jobs that Federal spending is supposed to be encouraging!
Regulatory agencies have seen their combined budgets grow a healthy 16% since 2008, topping $54 billion, according to the annual "Regulator's Budget," compiled by George Washington University and Washington University in St. Louis.

That's at a time when the overall economy grew a paltry 5%.

Meanwhile, employment at these agencies has climbed 13% since Obama took office to more than 281,000, while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6%.
I have some friends who have bought into the lie that "not enough regulation" caused the mortgage crisis and recession.  I have blogged in the past about how regulation caused these problems by pressuring banks into making unwise loans.

But governments tend to grow instead of learning from their mistakes.

I have no philosophical or economic opposition to a little wise regulation because naked capitalism too easily encourages and rewards vices.  But today most Federal regulation is neither little nor wise.

Last night I had a talk with my father about one damaging side effect.  Realize that regulation often takes years to solidify into reality: after a new law is passed then enforcers need to be hired and trained, and details of phrasing and implication need to be tested in court rooms.  Many companies are postponing hiring because the immense amount of recent new regulation is still "in process" and so the economy cannot yet determine the value of new property or hiring a new worker.

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