Friday, April 13, 2012

Let Me Regulate That for You Sir

The Economist looks at American regulations:

A Florida law requires vending-machine labels to urge the public to file a report if the label is not there. The Federal Railroad Administration insists that all trains must be painted with an “F” at the front, so you can tell which end is which. Bureaucratic busybodies in Bethesda, Maryland, have shut down children’s lemonade stands because the enterprising young moppets did not have trading licences. The list goes hilariously on....

Governments of both parties keep adding stacks of rules, few of which are ever rescinded. Republicans write rules to thwart terrorists, which make flying in America an ordeal and prompt legions of brainy migrants to move to Canada instead. Democrats write rules to expand the welfare state. Barack Obama’s health-care reform of 2010 had many virtues, especially its attempt to make health insurance universal. But it does little to reduce the system’s staggering and increasing complexity. Every hour spent treating a patient in America creates at least 30 minutes of paperwork, and often a whole hour. Next year the number of federally mandated categories of illness and injury for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will rise from 18,000 to 140,000. There are nine codes relating to injuries caused by parrots, and three relating to burns from flaming water-skis...

But red tape in America is no laughing matter. The problem is not the rules that are self-evidently absurd. It is the ones that sound reasonable on their own but impose a huge burden collectively. America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

A friend's local pool is in turmoil just recently because of ADA mandates. They're caught up in this:
Your local public swimming pool may be forced to close this year for lack of having a “Permanently” installed pool lift. The ADA with the backing of Obama’s Department of Justice in all its infinite wisdom has decided to mandate that all public swimming pools now have these pool/chair-lifts installed at all swimming facilities that offer access to the public. This includes private membership facilities as well as county and school facilities.

Did Cass Sunstein [Obama's regulation czar] ever bother to determine what the economic impact would be on these pools in neighborhood subdivisions that can just squeak out enough to pay the pool boy? How are they going to afford to stay open when they have to part with as much as $7000.00 for a pool-lift chair. Perhaps as high as $10,000.00 with deliver and installation cost added. This does not cover any foreseeable maintenance or replacement issues.

I have to wonder just how much of this recession is just us shooting ourselves in the foot over and over again.

No, we don't want children working in factories. Make that a law. I'll support it. (as long as it doesn't go overboard) And I've got one other law to suggest: make it a law that you can't write a new law unless you strike down two old laws. Get rid of the crappy legislation first.

Course you know what will happen: The first law that the regulator in chief strikes down will be the one requiring you to strike down two old laws for every new one.