Beyond the Cusp

May 18, 2012

The Hidden Complexity Killing the United States

Before a problem can be resolved it must first be identified. The politicians pontificating on spending, taxes, over-sized government, needful stimuli, prudent investigations, all accompanied by catch phrases and sound bites are not addressing on what may be the most destructive and imbedded problem we are facing today, over-regulation. And what makes this an even more difficult problem to fix is that the vast majority of regulations are not proposed, inspired, written or voted upon by any of our politicians. There have been the few who have identified this as one of the most pressing problems of our time and have vowed to fight against the expansive web of regulations but usually do not give any concrete steps they will take or what they will implement that will corral the regulators and stem the regulatory blizzards.

The reason for this is simple; politicians do not have any direct control over regulations, not their invention, not their implementing, and not their seeming ability to spawn new regulations in order to implement the initial regulation. But the truth is that the politicians who passed the laws and then neglected to write the regulations that implement these laws, instead relegating this power to the faceless masses of bureaucrats to form and flesh out the legislation with whatever regulations they can find reasons to incorporate, have relegated not only the meat of their position but also any trust or respect due them in their position. There is no limit to how many regulations which can be formed from any piece of legislation. It is possible for a twenty line piece of legislation which calls for more visible traffic signs on the country’s interstate highways can lead to hundreds of pages of regulations. The little holders of the near infinite fiefdoms established to implement legislations and laws would take such a directive to take off to regulate all manners of making signs more legible and visible under any and all imaginable environments and conditions. Initially there will be regulations establishing the different classes of highway signs such as speed limit, exit, route numbers, services, and so forth. There can be the regulations for colors to be used for each class of sign. Then there must be regulations for the size of the lettering and numbering, as well as the reflectibility of each class. Then there are the regulations pertaining to positioning and whether they are allowed to be used as overhead signage. There can be regulations detailing how many signs are required and their distance before the item and between multiple signs with similar information notifying of different road conditions or options for exits coming ahead. And these are simply a small example as we do not have a regulation Czar such as Cass Sunstein on staff. Imagine the number of regulations the little cogs in the gears and wheels of government in charge of regulatory writing are going to invent when they sink their claws into the two-thousand-plus page Obamacare legislation. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Next time you hear a politician talking about how they are going to go to Washington and chop the government down to size; ask them what they plan to do about the situation of our unbelievable over-regulation and how they will accomplish that task. This is one of the questions which can turn a politician into a stuttering, melting mass of protoplasm collapsing in on themselves while spitting out inanities as they slowly grind to the political version of the blue screen of death. The problem is that should the politicians actually desire to get on top of the regulation monster and wrestle it under control they would actually have to work and work very hard. They would have to take it upon themselves to actually write all of the regulations instead of placing a line such as, “and to establish all regulations and licenses necessary to implement this legislation as directed by the office of (pick your favorite Cabinet Secretary Office). And even if they should take this serious responsibility which is in theory already their job to do and not to relegate to some unelected bureaucrat, there would still be the regulations that have been initiated over the past sixty or more years that should be reviewed and the vast majority be negated and filed in the circular file at the end of the desk. The fact that we have a position of Regulatory Czar is just a symptom of this out-of-control problem. So, sooner or later the public will have no choice but to take up the call for the end of living lives strangled by regulations to the point we can hardly breathe. The United States was supposed to be the nation where the dedication inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was a guarantee and truth, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” How can we breathe free if regulations are used to strangle the breath out of us? Let us once again unwrap the bindings of these often damaging and ever useless regulations which restrict our action and once again be allowed to breathe free.

Beyond the Cusp

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