Friday, April 20, 2012


by Lynn Costello
Recently on Fox News Channel, Juan Williams like many other left-wing commentators lamented the severe consequences of electing Mitt Romney or any other conservative for that matter.  His deep concern was that Romney would eliminate all regulation in America.  Really, Juan, zero regulation?  I don’t know a time in the history of the United States of America when there was zero regulation. 

Besides making things “regular” regulation was most often used to promote health and safety.  Over the years life has become so complex that the American people are no longer able to make decisions about their businesses, their families or their lives; thus, government is now required to provide extensive “instructions” for us to follow.  Juan and his ilk fear that without these instructions and restrictions people would be harmed and confused.

I might point out that in 2011 alone there were 4,257 new regulations requiring businesses to spend 8.8 billion hours to comply with a cost to those businesses of $1.75 trillion.  The specificity of these regulations is mind-boggling as you can see from the following Federal Trade Commission regulation of appliance labels.

The FTC intends to prohibit manufacturers from hanging the yellow Energy Guide labels from clothes washers, dishwashers and refrigerators.  The current rule defines a “hang tag” as a label “affixed to the product…using string or similar material.”  According to the FTC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adhesive labels of the following type will be required:
·       The adhesive labels should be applied so they can be easily removed without the use of tools or liquids, other than water, but should be applied with an adhesion capacity sufficient to prevent their dislodgment during normal handling throughout the chain of distribution to the consumer.  The paper stock for pressure-sensitive or other adhesive labels shall have a basic weight of not less than 58 pounds per 500 sheets (25”x38”) or equivalent, exclusive of the release liner and adhesive.  A minimum peel adhesion capacity for the adhesive of 12 ounces per square inch is suggested, but not required if the adhesive can otherwise meet the requirements of this paragraph.
This is an abbreviated and partial version of the new rule; for the complete rule see the Appliance Labeling Rule under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1979.   It should also be noted that in addition to the above, officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection are proposing to turn away imports of consumer products and industrial equipment that do not comply with America’s labeling standards.
It occurs to me that Juan Williams may have issues to be concerned about, but lack of regulation should not be one of them.


  1. One of my favorite Ronald Reagan quotes is, "Beware the Taxers, the Takers, and the Regulation Makers!" There's much to be said for the wisdom in that thought.

    Stephen Mosier

  2. The basic problem in America today is we are consuming more than we produce. We see it in the negative balance of trade, the $1.3 trillion annual deficit, and the $16 trillion federal debt.

    The private sector is the source of production and it creates wealth in the process. This happens because private business spends to get a positive economic return and competition forces business to be efficient.

    Government only consumes. That’s necessary for its essential purposes of providing defense, legal system, etc. But government has grown to spend massively in schemes aimed at getting votes. The schemes are not based on positive economic return, which means they destroy wealth.

    The stimulus was spent on turtle crossings, subsidized green schemes, and giving grants to campaign bundlers like executives at bankrupt Solyndra. These schemes destroyed wealth. The money disappeared like water on sand, leaving only the debt behind.

    Excessive regulations are an even more insidious method of buying votes. There are people who believe more regulations are always good and will vote for the politician that imposes them. But each new regulation requires spending to set up and staff the agencies charged with administration and enforcement. This is an ongoing direct cost for operating the agency. But there is also a cascading cost of compliance for all the affected businesses. The private sector not only pays for the agency that administers the regulation but also the cost of complying. Added cost means businesses must raise prices and there is less capital for growth and the jobs that would result.

    When people wonder why the economy is anemic, the deficit is high, prices are going up, and there aren’t many jobs, they can simply look at size of government and the rapidly growing regulatory burden on the private sector.

    When it comes to regulations, Juan Williams doesn’t get Reagan's joke, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

    Mark Durrell