Posts Tagged ‘Regulation’

The burden of regulation

December 29, 2010

As some scholars are pointing out, the George W. Bush era was one of increasing government regulation, but, as this chart shows, it was narrowly focused.

Michael Mandel pointed this out in an article on his web log.

Yes, protecting us against terrorists, for sure, and doing a good job…but in the process making it more difficult for foreign business execs, scientists, and engineers to enter the country…and slowing down air travel…and  forcing telecom companies to open up holes in their systems….and so forth.

I’m not arguing that these actions are or are not necessary. But many of the mandates created by  Homeland Security are de facto regulations that have imposed an enormous economic burden on the country over the past ten years.

Mike Konzai responded on his Rortybomb web log with the above chart and more detailed analysis. As he noted, financial regulation was kept to a minimum.  The number of employees of the Office of Thrift Supervision declined (you would expect a slight increase to keep up with population growth).  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission had a mere 122 employees, the lowest level since 1984, attempting to track a financial services industry with thousands and thousands of employees.  At the same time the Patent and Trademark Office beefed up its staff, as did the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Bush era brought you a regulatory state of militarized borders, drug wars, strategically weakened financial regulatory bodies for convenient regulatory shopping, and aggressive use of patents to shut down competition. This is not the regulatory state I fight for.