(Official Washington Examiner editorial, Nov. 29, 2o23)  Federal debt will never be brought under control, nor will government’s intrusiveness be curtailed, unless people rein in the administrative state. Fortunately, some good suggestions on how to do so are published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank dedicated to the goal of freedom for all people and businesses from unnecessary regulations.

On Nov. 29, CEI released “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State,” which collects massive data on the problem and proposes thoughtful ways to ameliorate it. Most of the recommendations are superb, and we would add a few of our own.

“The cost of government extends well beyond what Washington taxes,” the report began. “Federal regulations add another $1.939 trillion to Americans’ annual burden.” Worse, “many crisis regulations become permanent regulations, or last far longer than is warranted.” And “regulatory costs stand at nearly two-thirds the level of [all] corporate pre-tax profits” in the whole country. This means “U.S. households pay $14,514 annually on average in a hidden regulatory tax.”

The photomechanical print, The Struggle of the Slav by John S. Pughe (1870-1909). Original from Library of Congress. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

Fortunately, CEI proposes nine big ways to reform the system. The first would restore Congress to its proper lawmaking role by requiring specific congressional approval of major new rules before a federal agency may put them into effect. Another would limit the president’s ability to use “emergency declarations” that impose permanent new government controls while evading usual legislative and rulemaking requirements. CEI also repeats perennial conservative demands that regulatory rules have “sunset” provisions so they will fall off the books automatically unless specifically re-approved.

Here’s another interesting one, although it needs to be fleshed out so it is clear how it would work: Create an executive “Office of No,” the job of which would be “to make the case against new and existing regulations and to facilitate ongoing sunsetting and streamlining.”…. [The full editorial is at this link.]



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