By Rep. Don Young
December 07, 2011
So far, this administration has given them no reason to be optimistic. The government has failed to identify a significant reason why businesses won’t hire. Businesses that are capable of expanding refuse to do so because they are unsure what new onerous federal regulation tomorrow will bring. Instead of developing new products, businesses are preoccupied with paperwork. Rather than investing in new workers, businesses are investing in new lawyers to navigate the massive Code of Federal Regulations.
In theory, federal agencies should propose and implement regulations to enforce laws passed by Congress. However, in practice, a troubling trend has emerged. Federal agencies are seemingly engaged in a jurisdictional arms race, annually proposing more regulations than ever before. With expanded jurisdiction comes expanded federal funding. In this system, federal agencies are inadvertently rewarded for every regulation they propose and enforce.
What many federal agencies don’t understand — or worse, are not concerned with — is the negative impact regulations often have on businesses. With every new complex regulation comes new paperwork for businesses to fill out. With every new stack of paperwork required, uncertainty grows. Is my small business in compliance with all pertinent federal regulations? How many lawyers must I hire to navigate this growing sea of regulations? How many people must I fire as a result?
As the only licensed mariner in Congress, I can tell you firsthand how much government regulation has grown. In the 1960s, I owned and operated a tugboat to deliver supplies to villages along the Yukon River. During those days, I only needed to fill out correctly approximately three pages of applications to legally operate on the Yukon River. I provided an important service, and the various levels of government involved in the regulation of that industry wanted to make the application process as simple as possible.
Back then, their chief concern was that I continue providing deliveries to remote villages. Government regulators worked with a business in order to benefit the consumer, Alaskans living along the Yukon River.
Today, if I operated the same tug service, three pages would barely scratch the surface. I would have to file paperwork with several federal entities. The sheer volume of paperwork, combined with the looming threat of federal regulators levying large fines, would force me to make a choice many small-businesses owners have to make these days; either hire lawyers to help your business gain compliance or shut your doors.
Government regulators have lost sight of who they are supposed to serve: the consumer.
When federal regulators increase the amount of paperwork a business must fill out, the cost of doing business goes up. With increased costs to businesses comes an increased cost to consumers. H.R. 3181, the “Stop the Regulation Invasion Please” (STRIP) Act, seeks to reverse this troubling regulatory trend.
First, don’t add any new regulations. The bill immediately establishes a two-year moratorium on any new federal regulations. Common-sense exemptions will be granted to regulations needed to enforce criminal laws or protect the public from imminent threat to health.
Second, give Congress and the American people a comprehensive report covering all regulations from the past 20 years. Use a uniform formula to show how many regulations businesses must currently deal with, how much these regulations cost the government to enforce, and how much these regulations cost businesses to comply with.
Finally, my bill starts a ticking clock on all regulations proposed and enforced during the last 20 years. Within one year of enactment, all covered regulations not legislatively affirmed by Congress will be automatically repealed. Of course, certain regulations are noncontroversial and necessary. That is why any regulation not already granted an exemption has the ability to be retained. One year is more than enough time for federal agencies to justify before the congressional committees of jurisdiction which regulations from the past 20 years should stay. Supporting evidence for each regulation enforced on the American people should be readily available and easy to understand. Otherwise, it might be just the type of regulation we don’t need.
H.R. 3181 asks the executive branch to “stop the regulation invasion, please.”
About: U.S. Congressman Don Young (R-AK) was reelected to the House of Representatives in 2010 to serve his 20th term as Alaska’s sole congressman.
Published December 07, 2011
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