Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Government:  Behind the Burden of Regulation

... why, if regulations are usually a legitimate response to mischievous games played by some parties in the private sector, these regulations are often so inchoate, if not outright silly.

Lack of competence among the rule writers — especially unfamiliarity with the operations of those they seek to regulate — may be part of the answer, but probably not a large part.

More important, in my view, is the gantlet that legislation and rule-making must run under our system of governance.

Before an original bill passes Congress, it has been worked over ("marked up"), in each of the two chambers, by sundry committee fiefs whose members may be beholden to a variety of moneyed interest groups, each eager to steer the legislators' hands.

The specific regulations called for in a bill, once passed, must also survive the scrutiny and influence of special interest groups, which typically work through members of Congress or the upper levels of the executive branch, whose affection they have acquired.

Even the best-written original bill cannot emerge from that process in the form of a coherent set of rules. Many a rule may appear puzzling to straight-thinking people, and some even silly. Chances are they make sense to some interest group that had purchased it, so to speak.

For more, see Behind the Burden of Regulation by Uwe E. Reinhardt, May 11, 2012 at Economix.

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