Taking money out of the economy, wasting some of it on bureaucracy, and then putting it back in is not going to spark economic growth. About the only thing that has been sparked is a lobbying feeding frenzy over stimulus funding. Even the Democrat-controlled Congressional Budget Office (CBO) admits that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will hurt long-run economic growth.So what would a more rational policy be for stimulating the economy? They first give us this perspective:
With such perspective, it is clear that a great way to stimulate business is to reduce its costs and its frustrations and dangers. Something has to be done to reduce this regulatory nightmare. George Bush sure did not do it. He enacted more than 30,000 new regulations. The President and the Congress must reverse this sorry trend. Crews and Young suggest that unless a regulation is renewed by Congress, it should expire in 5 years. Obsolete or ineffective regulations should be packaged together and sent to Congress for their up-or-down vote. Congress will have to take on far more responsibility in the process. Congress passed 285 bills last year, while government agencies added 3,830 rules.Businesses spent $1.17 trillion in 2008 to comply with federal regulations. The government spent another $49.1 billion to enforce those regulations. The total amount spent on regulation is on par with Canada's entire 2006 gross domestic product of $1.265 trillion.The 2008 Federal Register weighed in at 79,435 pages, an all-time record. More than 60 agencies passed 3,830 new rules last year. The federal regulatory pipeline now has 4,003 rules at various stages of implementation. Of those, 783 affect small businesses.The government calls a regulation “economically significant” if it costs $100 million or more; 180 such rules came onto the books in 2008, costing the economy at least $18 billion. This is an increase of 13 percent over 2007, which in turn was up 14 percent from the year before.Among these $100 million-plus gems are rules for right whale ship strike reduction, reducing open-flame ignition of bedclothes, and at least $600 million worth of energy conservation requirements for everything from pool heaters to battery chargers.
As a small businessman, it is impossible for me to know what the many laws and regulations are which may apply to my laboratory business. There are some I know about and these do impose impressive costs in time and money on my business. Then there are the many I do not know about. These me reason to have to fear that some government bureaucrat hungry to exercise his power will some day become aware that I am not compliant with some one of thousands of regulations about which I know nothing and use it to milk my business dry. This is not the way to encourage businessmen to take the risks of investing their money and time in building a business, hiring employees, and training them to do the job well.