I'm just sayin' - Chasing the wind with a net (seventh in a series)At all levels of government, there are thousands of regulations controlling what we do, what we buy, and how we live our lives. There is just too much to keep up with on a personal level so we depend on our elected and appointed officials to make sense of it – and that is where things start to get crazy and break down.
By: DuWayne Paul, Columnist, Alexandria Echo Press
The title of this column is the mental picture I get when trying to understand or consider the reasoning and logic behind the countless regulations our governments heap upon us - not only in our personal life but also in our businesses. It is much like running around in an open field with a butterfly net and just flailing at the wind.
At all levels of government, there are thousands of regulations controlling what we do, what we buy, and how we live our lives. There is just too much to keep up with on a personal level so we depend on our elected and appointed officials to make sense of it - and that is where things start to get crazy and break down.
Let's start with the premise that laws are passed with good intentions but then have unintended consequences. I don't believe our lawmakers purposely make things difficult and expensive for us. In an effort to protect us, they make "all encompassing" rules that affect the rest of us, and thus they are "chasing the wind with a net."
When laws are passed at the federal and state level (with good intentions), they are then "passed off" to non-elected regulators and agencies. These regulators then interpret the law and put in place the regulations to enforce the law. These well-intentioned folks start to imagine all the kinds of things that could be "made better" by this law and its regulations to be put in place by agencies and departments of the government. When it all gets handed down to businesses and local government agencies, the cost to comply becomes out of control. Who gets to pay for that in the end? That's right; you and I. Government has no source of revenue except from taxes and fees placed on its citizens. Government does not create anything, it only "takes away and gives out." The "giving out" often ends up with the favored few who are chosen by government.
A good example of laws and regulations that get out of control is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Congressional act itself is 2,300 pages long. The resulting regulations that have been written so far are more than 100,000 pages, and there will be more to come.
So, what are the costs of these regulations and how do they affect the economy? The Congressional Regulation Office (Washington, D.C.) puts the cost on an annual basis at about $1 trillion. These costs are rising at a rate of about $13 billion each year, according to the same agency. The net costs to those of us out here in "fly over land" are loss of job opportunities, loss of business expansion opportunities, and the trickle down financial loss in our lives. Without jobs and business creation, we are not spending on homes, cars, appliances, etc. The net loss is to the economy.
This is not a partisan issue. Administrations and Congresses starting with the 1970s have expanded the regulatory environment in Washington, D.C. and laid the costs onto us, the taxpayers.
In conclusion, there is probably no mean-spirited intent in all these laws and regulations. Putting them in place and creating the agencies and regulations to enforce them are the "unintended consequences" of big government and its intrusion into our lives. Come election time, it is up to you to decide on who and what to vote for - individual freedom or big government.
And, as usual, I'm just sayin'.
• • •
"In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another."
French philosopher (1694-1778)
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.