‘Democracy Denied’ is the Guide to Fighting Over-Regulation

October 13th, 2011 at 12:50 am | 63 Comments |

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Phil Kerpen’s Democracy Denied ($24.95 in hardcopy; $9.99 for Kindle) Is a none-too-long book that, if widely read (which it deserves to be) would provide something that’s absent from today’s politics: a coherent and useful agenda for the Tea Party and its fellow travelers. Kerpen’s manifesto-like book, more than anything else, aims to focus the Tea Party on the excesses of government regulation.

And it’s a good place to direct the movement’s immense energy. Whether he’s talking about climate change policy or health care, Kerpen, a Vice President of Americans for Prosperity, makes the point that President Obama’s administration (like President Bush’s before him) has substituted burdensome regulations for democratic governance. More and more, the things that most impact the lives of ordinary Americans stem not from the actions of Congress but, rather, from federal regulations that impact everything from light-bulbs to credit cards.

There’s a place, even a significant one, for executive branch rulemaking but, time and again, efforts to stretch the powers of bureaucracies have placed huge burdens on the economy while delivering few, if any, public benefits. Indeed, every large agency of government has issued at least some regulations that do more harm than good. And Kerpen’s book outlines a workable, practical agenda for people of good will to fight against these big government excesses.

In his discussion of regulation, among other things, Kerpen makes a good case for the REINS Act which would subject economically significant regulations to Congressional up-or-down votes. (I’m still worried about that the REINS Act might undermine the Constitution’s separation of powers but I’m a lot warmer towards it than once I was.)

This book isn’t going to turn me into a tea partier. I’d quarrel with Kerpen’s prescriptions in a few places and his characterizations of President Obama and his appointees as extremists even more. (Mostly, they’re garden-variety liberals–bad enough.) I still think that the conservative movement will achieve the most legislative and practical success if it can forward a positive agenda. But, although it doesn’t entirely speak for me, I do feel that Kerpen’s book is a valuable contribution: it offers the Tea Party an agenda that could do enormous good for the country. It’s well worth reading.

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63 Comments so far ↓

  • Graychin

    Eliminating regulations is a fake issue like tort “reform.” They are both long-standing dreams of businesses that prefer not to be held accountable when cutting corners produces a bad result – for you..

    Both issues are being astroturfed down to the same sheep who were astroturfed into the Tea Party movement by the Freedom Works syndicate and Faux News. And Kerpin.

    Do you like drinking clean water? Eating safe food? A fair shake from your mortgage company? The right to be compensated for real injuries caused by corporate negligence? Thank a bureaucrat for writing regulations, and another one for enforcing them.

    Then thank a trial lawyer.

    If you want to see a real grass-roots movement, keep an eye on Occupy Wall Street. It’s 23 days and counting. And still growing.

  • ggore

    The power to regulate was created by Congress and delegated to the administration years ago. It removes the onus of the Congress having to answer for what it does in the realm of regulations by passing it off to bureaucrats, which it can then berate for actually doing the regulating. A handy system, you don’t have to do anything yourself and then you can bitch about the people who actually do something.

    The same fallacy is perpetuated by Republicans when they say that raising the debt limit is tantamount to giving Obama a blank check, when this is just a bald-faced lie. The Congress does budgeting, passes appropriations and hands out money for everything, not the President, and any idiot who took a civics class in high school knows this, and sees past that argument. The President doesn’t set the budget, the Congress does. The President doesn’t decide what money is to be spent on what, the Congress does. All these people who propose to say they’re all about the Constitution assume the great unwashed don’t know about this lie, but this one does!

  • andydp

    This is just crying on your part. We all know corporations and banks will do the right thing volutarily. After all, “Corporations are people” and people follow the golden rule. (<<< Sarcasm alert !!)

    For those that believe that (and write books about it) there's a bridge in New York I'd like you to look at…

    Actually the "regulation/enforcement part" of a law (appropriately, the Vosltead Act comes to mind) is the purview of the affected agencies (Executive branch). When the 18th amendment was passed, Congress had no power to enforce the Amendment. That is why the Volstead Act was enacted. When a law is passed the regulatory duties are given to the agency indetified in the law. You usually find a statement like "The Secretary of_____ will develop regulations to…"

  • Watusie

    Here is Republican low-regulation democracy in action:

  • Oldskool

    An example or two of the excesses of government regulation might have helped this article but I see none. It’s not news that credit card companies and banks and insurance companies literally pay for laws that would be considered theft in other countries.

  • Ridge

    Placing Obama on the cover is just candy for his audience.

    The 2000′s wasn’t just a boom time the financial industry in a non-regulatory atmosphere. I live in southern Appalachia and not enforcing the Clean Water Act (1972) allowed the huge growth of Mountain Top Removal, with the Corp of Engineers passing out permits like parking validation. The damage caused by this mining technique is evident every time it rains. I personally saw houses destroyed not 300 yrds from mine due to water run off during a storm. Its all over the mountains. Once the new Admin came in, and began to enforce the law, then many of those mines began to close. Why? Because they are NOT PROFITABLE if you follow the law.

    We can debate employment lost and the differences in low wage, unskilled, short term surface mining jobs vs. high wage, high skilled, long term contract underground mining…and which is best for the area. But from personal and business experience- regulations make for safer, cleaner and more ecomonically stable environment in that area.

    Ridge

    • Watusie

      “Placing Obama on the cover is just candy for his audience.”

      Agree. I haven’t read the book, but the OP says it:
      “aims to focus the Tea Party on the excesses of government regulation.”

      But the book cover says:
      “How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America – and How to Stop Him”

      Sounds much more exciting that way, doesn’t it?

    • Traveler

      Studies show that extraction regions temporarily prosper while the rape goes on, and then never recover from the environmental and fiscal catastrophe. We got that here in PA in the Scranton area, where the whole countryside is devastated and the economy has been moribund ever since the coal companies left. Now we got Marcellus Shale fracking. There, the issue is not so much that there are vast impacts. Instead, it is an insidious fragmenting of the landscape for the pipelines, pads and roads. The money goes, but the impacts stay.

      Complete bullsh1t blaming BO for some sort of vast increase in regulations, without citing one single example . Not that I don’t think regulations need to be coordinated and focus on outcomes instead of methods, but this clustercrap is just way over the top. I had a lot more respect for Eli Lehrer until this post. Now I see he is just another shill. Pathetic. Go talk on Rush, idiot.

  • balconesfault

    In his discussion of regulation, among other things, Kerpen makes a good case for the REINS Act which would subject economically significant regulations to Congressional up-or-down votes.

    This is just stupidity ramped up to the max.

    Congressional enabling legislation is usually a very contentious, very deliberate process. That’s why bills are so long that weenies are always running around yelling “every Congressman hasn’t read every page!” They’re complex because a lot of parties are sitting at the table, and a lot of Congressional staffers are involved in hammering out very specific details, that provide a very structured approach that the Executive Branch is required to follow in actually implementing the legislation.

    And for the most part, the process of rule-making … including research of complex issues, data gathering, proposals, notice and comment, revisions, final promulgation … takes years, with no minor commitment of Federal resources.

    After promulgation, you will have lawsuits … from those who believe that the regulation did not go far enough in implementing the framework passed by Congress … from those who believe that the Executive Branch went too far.

    And Courts will decide, sometimes narrowly, on an item by item basis, sometimes on a broader basis, whether the Executive Branch faithfully carried out the instructions from Congress. And the Courts will also decide whether the Congressional mandate to the Executive Branch was Constitutional in the first place.

    So what about this REINS act?

    It has nothing to do with making our regulations more faithful to the original legislation. It has everything to do with giving Congress a pathway for subjugating the legislation passed by previous Congresses, without doing the actual hard work of passing legislation that exposes their real intent.

    Look Republicans. We get it.

    You want to eliminate all labor laws in America. You want to do away with the Clean Air Act. You hate the Endangered Species Act with a passion.

    You made it damn clear that you absolutely want no regulations on the Financial Industry. And of course, the Heritage-designed Romney/Obamacare legislation is pure and simple Communism that needs to be undermined by a million cuts.

    So show some balls. Instead of backdoor destroying popular legislation, start proposing your own.

    I want to see the GOP proposing the Anti-Clean Air Act. Let’s have the Screw the Unions Act. We already know some Republicans would be fine with doing away with Child Labor Laws … let’s just pony up and propose new legislation with the same name to get 14 years olds into the workforce. How about a Pave the Wetlands Act.

    If the GOP wants to eliminate the ability of the Federal Bureaucracy to regulate anything that some well-heeled lobbyist with the ability to momentarily buy enough Congressman might ever want to stop, let’s just make them show their colors.

    How about a “Corporate Control Act”, where Congress just turns over rulemaking to the specific industries to be regulated by any law? It would save us a TON of money in the regulatory development stage, and they could just accomplish what the Republican Party clearly wants to do much quicker and easier.

    • indy

      How about a “Corporate Control Act”, where Congress just turns over rulemaking to the specific industries to be regulated by any law?

      This way we can get both the bills AND the rules to under 3 pages. Perhaps even under 3 pages combined. Genius!

    • LauraNo

      Isn’t it just like the wingers to put a dollar amount to the idea of which regulations to oversee? If it doesn’t cost a (madeup) huge amount of money, we will expect business to provide us safe to eat food and clean water but, man, hit that magic too-much number and then, voila! now it is ok to poison us. Their ideas sound like something you’d get from a middle-school focus group. The kids might do better, even.

    • Traveler

      Brilliant!

  • Steve D

    Have you ever noticed that the economy gets bad enough to raise taxes but not cut salaries at the managerial levels of government? Bad enough to cut services but never bad enough to cut regulators? Never bad enough to lengthen the work week for them? Never bad enough to require them to do the same amount of work with fewer resources?

    Like a city that can afford red light cameras but somehow can’t get a grip on crime, the problem is not that regulations are bad, but that regulators pick all the low hanging fruit. Because they’re cowardly (attack powerless targets) and lazy (it’s less work). I’m all in favor of accountability, so make regulators accountable. Make law enforcement accountable for false arrests. Put a strict – and short – time limit on regulatory decisions and have each decision signed off by someone who is personally responsible for meeting the deadline and the correctness of the decision. And since tort reform is such a bogey man, make them play by the same rules as the rest of us and pay their own legal bills. I mean. we don’t want people dodging accountability, now, do we?

    Define the concept of “frivolous enforcement.” Example: the Fish and Wildlife Service has on occasion confiscated school childrens’ collections of bird feathers. That demonstrates that the agency has all the money it needs to do its job – in fact, they have too much. The FDA managed to miss several major outbreaks of food-borne illness, but meanwhile spent a couple of years debating whether it was legal to call prunes “dried plums.” Because the fact that prunes ARE dried plums isn’t sufficient. Clearly the people involved are not needed. Black Hills National Forest charges educational institutions to use the forest, saying they need the money to pay for regulation. Because just making do on their budget is not an option.

    • Watusie

      “the Fish and Wildlife Service has on occasion confiscated school childrens’ collections of bird feathers”

      Proof, please. If you want policy to be based on this anecdote, and if you want to use this anecdote as proof that the Fish and Wildlife Service is over funded, then I’m afraid you are going to have to tell us when, where, and how often, as well as how far up the chain of command.

      “the FDA managed to miss several major outbreaks of food-borne illness”

      Proof, please. When did the FDA “miss” a “major outbreak”?

      “Black Hills National Forest charges educational institutions to use the forest, saying they need the money to pay for regulation. Because just making do on their budget is not an option.”

      Proof, please. Your contention is that they have an ample budget and are just gouging users for – what? A nice fund for a Christmas Party? Is it not possible that the budget that they’ve received from Congress is based on the idea that you’ll get X from us and you’ll make up the rest of what you need from user fees? Ever noticed that you have pay to get into the Grand Canyon National Park? Is that another example of librul refusal to make do?

      And re the prune/plum thing. Believe me, I want ample warning before I eat anything prune-based.

      • LauraNo

        LOL. I have a story via my father-in-law who grew up in Austria, where there were many plum trees. He and a friend climbed up one and spent the afternoon chatting and eating plums. Guess what happened? They didn’t get down the tree fast enough…

      • nuser

        I believe there is a law against possessing eagle feathers and it is called “Eagle feather law”
        Just vaguely recall the schoolroom incident. I also recall a woman who lost her whole collection of feathers belonging to rare bird species, none of which she had killed, merely
        bought.

    • balconesfault

      Bad enough to cut services but never bad enough to cut regulators?

      Actually, this is flat out wrong.

    • LFC

      “Watusie said… If you want policy to be based on this anecdote, and if you want to use this anecdote as proof that the Fish and Wildlife Service is over funded, then I’m afraid you are going to have to tell us when, where, and how often, as well as how far up the chain of command.”

      It seems that Steve D doesn’t understand the saying that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.

      • Steve D

        See, there’s this cool thing called Google that allows you to check out stories. On the FWS, here’s a heart-warming one:
        http://wusa9.com/news/article/161065/158/Woodpecker-Saving-Daughter-Costs-Mom-500
        or this:
        http://www.chron.com/life/houston-belief/article/American-Indian-holy-man-fights-for-seized-1879342.php

        It took about two years, 1999-2000, to approve the dried plum change. Meanwhile there were two foodborne disease outbreaks in 1999 and three in 2000.

        As for Black Hills NF, I know that because I worked for an educational institution that was billed for use of the forest, for which there are no public admissions charges. We had to keep a log of time spent on NF land. I realize that actual personal experience may not count as “evidence” to Watusie.

        By the way, how many anecdotes do you have to have to become data? Why is it that one tale of someone’s plight over not having health insurance is data but numerous instances of government malfeasance aren’t?

        • Watusie

          There is also this cool thing called “reason” which notes that the things you’ve linked to have no relevance to what you claimed.

          Incidentally, before I wrote my previous comment I did try to find your story about the persecution of kids that “proves” the FWS is over funded. Here’s the LMGTFY link. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=fish+wildlife+service+confiscate+schoolchildren+feather+collection

          I found nothing. Maybe I should have drilled down another 20 or 40 pages???

          Or maybe this is just something you invented?

          Furthermore, the claim that there were two foodborne disease outbreaks in 1999 and three in 2000 is not relevant to your claim that the FDA “missed” several major outbreaks of food-borne illness. Unless in your talk radio addled brain the government is both incapable of doing anything AND omnipotent at the same time.

          I put great store by actual personal experience and so cannot understand why you are outraged that everyone doesn’t get a free all-access pass to the national forests and parks for every use. Did you also complain when you went to Mt. Rushmore and found you had to put a quarter in the big binocular thingys in order to make them work when the person standing next to you could just stare at it with their own eyes for free?

          “By the way, how many anecdotes do you have to have to become data? Why is it that one tale of someone’s plight over not having health insurance is data but numerous instances of government malfeasance aren’t?”

          I think if you were able to come up with one instance of government malfeasance you’d be off to a better start than what you’ve accomplished so far. And then you’ll need to come up with 59 million more in order to rise to the level of what is known about Americans without health insurance.

        • Demosthenes

          Are you even paying attention? Do you even bother to look carefully at ideas, stories, and facts that challenge liberal orthodoxy, or (like so many Democrats) does the obvious correctness of your point of view obviate the need to carefully examine opposing points of view?

          Steve D said: “Example: the Fish and Wildlife Service has on occasion confiscated school childrens’ collections of bird feathers.”

          You said: “I think if you were able to come up with one instance of government malfeasance you’d be off to a better start than what you’ve accomplished so far.”

          The link provided by Steve D opens:

          When Apache holy man Robert Soto performs at American Indian powwows, it is with some indignation: He’s been left to dance with turkey feathers. The revered golden eagle feathers that once topped his colorful headdress have been locked up since March, seized by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent after a traditional powwow in McAllen.

          Granted, Steve D said “schoolchildren” and the link provided speaks of a holy man. But instead of dealing with the obvious malfeasance here, you simply dismiss it as having “no relevance.” But then I guess if you can claim with a straight face that

          Furthermore, the claim that there were two foodborne disease outbreaks in 1999 and three in 2000 is not relevant to your claim that the FDA “missed” several major outbreaks of food-borne illness.

          – in other words, that in your view the existence of foodborne disease outbreaks is somehow irrelevant to the claim that the FDA “missed” foodborne disease outbreaks, or even that this constitutes evidence that the FDA is somehow doing its job just fine — if you can mangle logic and reason that badly, I suppose anything is possible. Except, of course, anything that challenges liberal orthodoxy. Obviously anything like that is totally impossible.

        • Watusie

          I know this is going to shock you, but yes I did read it. And as support for his original claim, it is ludicrous. You quote the opening, but did you read the rest of it? Just like the woodpecker story, it turns into a completely different tale indeed by the time the writer gets beyond the attention-grabbing headline and starts dealing with the detail.

          Shall we shutdown the CDC if there is flu this winter? Is there fact that there was flu last winter proof that the CDC missed an outbreak of disease? No, and no. The CDC and the FDA could both have trillion dollar budgets and be run at the peak of efficiency and effectiveness that would be the envy of the world and there would STILL be outbreaks of food borne illness and disease. Get it??

        • Dex

          Demosthenes, lets recap.

          Steve D said from time to time the FWS confiscates school childrens’ collections of bird feathers, and that is proof that the agency is over-funded.

          Watusie asked for proof.

          Steve D’s “proof” was to say “Google it for yourself”. Doing so produces nothing on point. Steve D also linked to two unrelated items, one involving a live bird, not feathers; neither of them involving school children.

          That is a pretty poor effort for something which was claimed to be definitive on the question of FWS funding.

        • Demosthenes

          Define the concept of “frivolous enforcement.” Example: the Fish and Wildlife Service has on occasion confiscated school childrens’ collections of bird feathers. That demonstrates that the agency has all the money it needs to do its job – in fact, they have too much. The FDA managed to miss several major outbreaks of food-borne illness, but meanwhile spent a couple of years debating whether it was legal to call prunes “dried plums.”

          This is the quote in question.

          Perhaps it is not the case that “FWS confiscated schoolchildens’ bird feathers.” Then again, as the article in question notes:

          Agents don’t make a priority of seizing feathers from American Indians unless an ”evident violation” of the law occurs, such as the killing of an eagle or the trafficking in of feathers, said Patrick Durham, American Indian liaison at Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters.

          We can debate all day about whether or not there had been an “evident violation” of the law, if the mere fact that the feather appeared in a photograph constituted enough of a reason for the Fish and Wildlife Service to get involved. But the problem Steve D raises — the entire reason for his post — was to note that the problem is not the number of regulations that we have. The problem is, rather, that the enforcement mechanism is apparently operating independent of common sense and (as in the prune/dried plum distinction) concerned with exactly the wrong kinds of questions.

          I did not hear any anti-government utopianism from Steve D. If he believes that the FWS should be dismantled, he did not say so. I understood him to be pointing at a systemic problem, which is that our regulations are so concerned with methods that they often ignore outcomes. The problem is not that regulations exist, the problem is that the regulations that do exist are not serving their intended purpose.

          Of course the FDA is not perfect, nor should we expect any human institution to be perfect. But without even mentioning “waste, fraud, and abuse” — which Steve D did not say anything about — it is clear that our regulatory system can operate more intelligently than it does currently. You can blame Bush for that all you want, the bottom line is that we need to update our regulatory system to bring it into line with the (technological and other) realities of the new millennium.

        • Watusie

          “Perhaps it is not the case that “FWS confiscated schoolchildens’ bird feathers.” ”

          Well then, POOF goes Steve D’s argument, since that item was his “demonstration” that the FWS was over-funded.

          Urban legends are a poor basis for policy making.

          As for your other obsession: do you agree that bald and golden eagles need protection? Do you agree that allowing the trade of their spectacular plumage makes their protection harder? Do you agree that it is not wise to allow just anybody to declare that they are an “Apache Holy Man” and so entitled to the possession of such feathers? Do you agree that the article you are yammering on about clearly says that the so-called victim is an example of a self-declared Native American Holy Man, and that he is not a member of any recognized tribe? And do you agree that the article states that if he were a member of one of the recognized tribes, there would be issue?

        • Demosthenes

    • nuser

      Preservation of the Bald Eagle is hardly frivolous . We need regulations to guard animals and people from your way of thinking. Do i detect anarchy in your post?

  • YuriPup

    Last I checked the “light bulb regulation” was actually part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

    Acts of Congress aren’t good examples of executive branch regulation.

    Also not knowing where regulation comes from destroys any credibility you have as a reviewer of the book. You don’t have the essential knowledge to say if the author is factually right or wrong. Looking over the Amazon list of Tea Party shills endorsing the book–and no review from people knowledgeable in the field–I am forced to assume its relation to reality is minimal.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    The moronization of the Republican base continues apace. A well regulated marketplace economy is the wonder of the world, it enables trust between the seller and buyer. (and saves the seller a lot of expense proving his goods are trustworthy because they would have already passed government approval). In China the most trusted accounting firms are the American ones, in Shanghai English is the language of business for even many local companies because China has such a disastrous regulatory framework. American products, even though they are made in China, sell better in China because they are trusted.

    Would Kerpen buy pharmacetical products from companies that were not regulated? Maybe he did which is why he is so God damn stupid.

    These people are not Conservative, hell Eli is not even writing as a Conservative, this is pure unadulterated idiocy.

  • Rick123

    Why do I feel like I stumbled upon WND just now? Perhaps Frum should start advertising Jerome Corsi books too.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    steve D: I’m all in favor of accountability, so make regulators accountable. Make law enforcement accountable for false arrests. Put a strict – and short – time limit on regulatory decisions and have each decision signed off by someone who is personally responsible for meeting the deadline and the correctness of the decision.

    Good lord, making a knowingly false arrest is a criminal act, if a regulator makes a regulation based on corruption, throw their ass in jail, but we don’t bust cops for making a mistaken arrest, that would make their job impossible. And a time limit on regulations is nuts. So you want your mothers Cumidin pills production be subject to yearly reviews? At what cost? And what does being personally responsible mean? Again, if a regulator acts in good faith on available evidence why should he be responsible for unforeseen consequences. You can never be 100% sure of drugs because to know the long term effects would require such a long delay that no drug company could make drugs so the FDA has set up drug trial protocals. Once in a great while a bad drug slips by. You really want FDA regulators to go to jail? Or chemists? Even though they have followed universally accepted protocals?
    And why would you want these protocals to be changed by fiat periodically, do you have any idea of the expense involved in retooling drug trial protocals?

    Jeez, you focus on a couple of truly trivial issues which is a by product of having a fully functioning regulatory environment? So a few kids had their feather collection confiscated, therefore it is ok to not have food inspectors? As to the feather collections, in National parks you are not supposed to screw around with the wild life, is that so hard to understand?

    • LauraNo

      It’s a gut thing. They’ve been told regulations are bad, then out they go to make the case. The fact they are very bad at making cases elides them, that ‘gut’ gets in the way. This guy knew he could sell a few books to the FOX faithful is all.

    • Steve D

      “that would make their job impossible”

      Believe it or not, the rest of us don’t exist for the purpose of making regulators’ lives easier.

      “if a regulator acts in good faith on available evidence why should he be responsible for unforeseen consequences?”

      That’s fair, as long as it’s a universal rule. If anyone can prove they acted in good faith, they should be immune.

      “As to the feather collections, in National parks you are not supposed to screw around with the wild life, is that so hard to understand?”

      I never mentioned collecting in a National Park. That apparently, was too difficult to understand.

  • kuri3460

    Most government regulations are based on scientific evidence, legitimate safety concerns, common sense, and/or popular mandates. There is certainly some waste and excess in the system, but the good outweighs the bad by a ratio of probably 90/10 or 95/5.

    Republicans say they’d like to reform the bad but they carry on the conversation without including any type of perspective, and wind up, perhaps intentionally, convincing people that a very small slice of the pie is much, much larger than it actually is.

    I would like to see the GOP recognize that there are costs on both sides when it comes to regulation, and although it’s not fair to expect business to pick them up 100% of the time, it’s also not fair to pass them on to the consumer as the GOP generally favors.

    About a month ago, the Obama Administration proposed new restrictions on advertising junk food during children’s television programming. Of course the GOP came out in opposition on the grounds that if General Mills can’t advertise Captain Crunch as much as they used to, it may hurt their sales and impact their workforce. On the other hand, one out of three American children is overweight or obese, and there is a cost associated with that as well. It doesn’t mean the regulation was a good idea, but the principle behind it was based on legitimate information. I’ll start considering voting for the GOP when they can at least come out and acknowledge this.

    • Curiosity

      “I would like to see the GOP recognize that there are costs on both sides when it comes to regulation, and although it’s not fair to expect business to pick them up 100% of the time, it’s also not fair to pass them on to the consumer as the GOP generally favors.”

      In general, business’ pass their costs onto the consumer.

      • Traveler

        Most of us with half a brain are happy to pay a little extra for having clean water and air (if our products came from the US). When we buy cheaper Chinese products, we end up polluting China, not the US (except we are downwind). Externalities are the issue. How they are handled properly is quite the dilemma.

        • balconesfault

          Externalities are the issue. How they are handled properly is quite the dilemma.

          Yes. And if any serious politician started taking serious steps towards advancing legislation that would directly address the externalities of exporting environmental degradation and labor abuse via our trade policies, I’d be ready to work hard to support them.

  • indy

    Phil Kerpen is a VP at Americans for Prosperity btw. Paid partisan hacks shilling for paid partisan hacks at FF. Might be a new low.

  • valkayec

    Any book written by a Koch employee – since AFP is a wholly owned Koch creation – is not a book I choose to spend my money on. I’m not into propaganda which serves to further sell out our nation to the highest bidder. Go back and read TR instead.

    PS the real Democracy Denied will be if the TP and GOP follow the guidance of Freedomworks and AFP and all of the Kochs’ other political and think tank organizations.

  • Demosthenes

    Democracy Denied: How Obama Is Ignoring You And Bypassing Congress To Radically Transform America — And How To Stop Him

    I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, however I feel oddly compelled to judge this one by its title.

    P.S. I noticed something else interesting. Ordinarily the book review articles have seen the book reviewed go on the sidebar of the FF homepage. This one is conspicuously absent.

  • PingGuy

    It happened again! My browser says it’s at FrumForum.com but the article reads like it came from RedState.com. I’ve got to get this problem looked at!

    Anyway, if companies are having trouble keeping up with regulations they could try cutting their CEO salary from 350x the average salary to 300x and then they could hire 50 people to handle the situation. It’s genius, I know, but feel free to use my advice at no cost. I’m just trying to help.

    • balconesfault

      Anyway, if companies are having trouble keeping up with regulations they could try cutting their CEO salary from 350x the average salary to 300x and then they could hire 50 people to handle the situation.

      Love it.

      But what if the CEO decides he needs to pack up and leave because his salary has been cut too much. Do you think you can find someone to replace the average American CEO who could do the same job for, say, 50x the average salary?

      Ummm …

  • armstp

    Eli Lehrer,

    Government regulation = the new conservative talking point

    I have not read this book, but I would guess there is absolutely no hard analysis or numbers in there supporting the thesis that government regulation is bad. I doubt the author actually empirically proves anything. I suspect just a lot of conservative talking point generalities.

    Given that this book is written by someone from “Americans for Prosperity” which is just a conservative PR/propaganda outfit and not an academic or legitimate economics institute tells us all we need to know. This group and this author are just paid by corporate interests who would rather not be regulated at all, which is to be expected. There is no objectivity here.

    Now here is my challenge to you Eli Leher. Can you find us any research or analysis from a credible source, say a genuine objective academic institute (Harvard or Standford or EPI) and Heartland, Heritage AEI and other propaganda outfits do not count, that actually proves that government regulation is bad for the economy and country? You have decades of research to draw on and the entire Interweb, so get to it. Give us some evidence.

    Give us something that shows and proves the less regulated countries do better than more regulated countries or less regulated States do better economically than more regulated States or during historic periods of less regulation that the U.S. did better than during historic periods of more regulation? Can you provide anything that actually proves that regulations are bad?

    I could actually fairly easily prove to you that more regulated economies generally do better than less regulated economies, say compare say Mexico and Germany.

    By the way can you also tell us exactly what all these “burdensome regulations” that Obama has imposed are? I can only think of some relatively minor new regulations that impact the financial services industry. Anything else? I would hardly consider the ACA as regulations, particularly given that it does not impact 90% of businesses who already provide healthcare to their employees. Where are all these regulations you claim?

    Can you also give us any examples of any job layoffs because of regulations or some concrete examples where jobs are not being created because of regulations? Anything?

    We certainly know what the negative impact of no regulations has been on the economy. It resulted in the financial crash and this massive economic downturn we are now experiencing.

    Here is a study by a credible and objective institute (Economic Policy Institute) that surveyed all the research on regulation and jobs. The conclusion: regulations do not impact jobs all that much, if at all.

    Regulation, employment, and the economy: Fears of job loss are overblown

    “…opponents of regulation argue that agency rules are damaging to the economy in general and job generation in particular. Some say specific regulations will destroy millions of jobs and cite a study (critiqued later in this paper) purporting to show that regulations cost $1.75 trillion per year. Regulations are frequently discussed only in the context of their threat to job creation, while their role in protecting lives, public health, and the environment is ignored.

    This report reviews whether the evidence backs the perspective of regulatory opponents. The first section looks broadly at the effects of regulations, whether they play a useful role in the economy, and whether their overall benefits outweigh their overall costs. The second section assesses the theory and evidence for the assertion that regulations undermine jobs and the economy. The last section examines the kinds of studies that are discussed when regulations are being formulated; these studies, often cited in debates and therefore of great importance, tend to be prospective estimates of the effects of proposed regulations.”

    “Studies examining the impacts of specific regulations on specific industries show that some regulations have a net positive effect on some industries and have cost jobs in other industries. Overall, “the preponderance of studies of various industries suggests that regulations have had a close to neutral effect or a moderately positive effect on employment levels,” according to the EPI paper.

    Since 2007, government data on “extended mass job layoffs” indicate that “only a very tiny fraction of such job layoffs (about 0.3 percent of the 1.5 million such layoffs each year) were attributed by employers to government regulations/intervention,” the paper says. “Similarly, a study that reviewed job layoffs due to environmental regulations in previous decades found that such regulations caused much less than one percent of extended mass layoffs.” By comparison, extreme weather-related events have caused more extended mass job layoffs than government regulation, according to the data.

    The paper’s authors, John Irons and Isaac Shapiro, also examined the effects of deregulation on the job market. “In particular, a wave of deregulation and the belief that financial markets can ‘self-regulate’ played a major role in the collapse of the housing bubble and the ensuing financial and economic crisis. Eight million jobs were lost in the Great Recession.”

    IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS JUST READ THE REPORT AT THE LINK BELOW:

    http://www.epi.org/publication/regulation_employment_and_the_economy_fears_of_job_loss_are_overblown/

    or how about this one:

    The economic—and other—benefits of regulations

    Is it really true, as many claim, that regulations damage the economy and undercut job creation?

    First, studies have generally shown that that is not the case. Second, the current Congress essentially has amnesia about recent history. In the past few years, the movement to deregulate contributed to the development of a financial crisis that led to the loss of 8 million jobs, lax regulation substantially increased the likelihood of something like the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster occurring, and the dangers of a weak FDA were underscored by significant incidences of tainted food – from spinach to cookie dough. In these cases, the lack of regulation undermined the economy and particular industries. The potentially positive role that strong regulations can play in stimulating economic growth and a well-functioning economic system should also be considered

    http://www.epi.org/publication/the_economic_-_and_other_-_benefits_of_regulations/

    • ottovbvs

      “You have decades of research to draw on and the entire Interweb, so get to it. Give us some evidence.”

      armstp: being a very intelligent guy I’m sure you’re familiar with the definition of an ambassador as “a man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.” Well Eli is a man sent abroad to lie for the paying members of the Heartland Institute. It’s not an unhonorable employment, he doubtless has a wife and kiddywinks to support, but clearly he has no interest whatsoever in locating research that confirms the reality that regulation in fact does little harm and a heckuva a lot of good. Having worked in heavily regulated industries I’m the first to say it can be a bit of a pain in the butt at times but is it necessary for the public good (including Eli’s and his family’s btw)? Unquestionably? Has it ever really had any material effect on investment decisions and hence job creation? Absolutely not.

      • armstp

        At most there have been some costs to regulation (most often minor compared to overall costs), which are just passed on to the end consumer, which only has a minor impact on the economy. There is not impact to jobs, as jobs are impacted by demand.

        • LauraNo

          Well, mightn’t regulations lead to a few jobs for the people enforcing them, or trying to conform to them? And then there are the very well paid lobbyists meant to eliminate the regs…

      • valkayec

        In addition, regulations often lead to new technologies, new businesses that market those technologies, and new research. Each requires more employees and provides greater economic demand. Oh, and let’s not forget that regulation often pushes slow adopting or “lazy” industries into adopting innovation. Think GM.

  • MSheridan

    Ah, yes, the decriminalization of criminal offenses, truly THAT is what the Tea Party could and should concentrate its energies upon. I, for one, welcome the brave new world we shall see when “false advertising”, “usury”, “child labor”, and “unsafe working conditions” have been done away with–I speak here of the elimination of the descriptive terms, of course, not that which the words denote.

    Does Mr. Lehrer actually believe we are over-regulated? Or is he just trying to shore up his right-wing cred by weakly supporting the least obviously stupid talking point of the right? By his own words, it’s a “none-too-long book” that “doesn’t entirely speak for” him and that contains (within its apparently scanty allotment of pages) policy prescriptions with which he’d “quarrel”, but we’re supposed to buy this as a must-read? Please. FF readers are not that gullible.

  • ottovbvs

    After all the Republican deregulatory climate in the financial industry between 2001 and 2008 was such a huge success…Let’s do it, let’s do it all over again.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8xjNb-nBC8&feature=related

    • LFC

      Don’t forget to add what a smashing success S&L deregulation was in the 1980s. Or how well energy deregulation worked for California.

  • ottovbvs

    “Don’t forget to add what a smashing success S&L deregulation was in the 1980s. Or how well energy deregulation worked for California.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8xjNb-nBC8&feature=related

    doobi doo….doobi doooooo….let’s do it again…You should learn the words Eli!

  • nuser

    “do you agree bald Eagles need protection” Absolutely! I wholeheartedly support FWS and
    donate to most organization concerning animals. Regulations serve a needed purpose.

    • Demosthenes

      “Do you agree that bald and golden eagles need protection?”

      Yes. As I said above, “The problem is not that regulations exist, the problem is that the regulations that do exist are not serving their intended purpose.”

      “Do you agree that allowing the trade of their spectacular plumage makes their protection harder?”

      Of course but as the article notes the FWS agent saw a feather in a newspaper photograph. There was zero evidence that the feather had been bought, sold, or traded.

      “Do you agree that it is not wise to allow just anybody to declare that they are an “Apache Holy Man” and so entitled to the possession of such feathers?”

      I think it is irrelevant to the question at hand. The point is that there was no evidence the feather had been obtained by harming or killing an eagle, or from someone who had harmed or killed an eagle. I think schoolchildren and fake holy men and everyone in between should be able to possess eagle feathers, as long as the eagle was not killed or captured by anyone at any point in time for the purpose of obtaining its feathers. Regulating (or banning) the sale of things like golden eagle feathers is fine, but the point is that the government is confiscating eagle feathers from private citizens because the government has decided that it will only allow those whom the government declares to be “real” Native Americans to possess them.

      Again, as I said above, I understood [Steve D] to be pointing at a systemic problem, which is that our regulations are so concerned with methods that they often ignore outcomes. That is to say, the method of protecting eagles by limiting the possession of eagle feathers to a particular group decided by the government to have the exclusive right of possessing eagle feathers, has led to an outcome where it is (as yet) in no way evident that an eagle was actually harmed, while a citizen has evidently been denied his property rights in the name of protecting eagles. You could even make this an “equal protection” issue re: his legal status as a Native American. I am sure the ACLU would love to take that case.

      “Do you agree that the article you are yammering on about clearly says that the so-called victim is an example of a self-declared Native American Holy Man, and that he is not a member of any recognized tribe?”

      I agree that his tribe is not recognized by the Federal government, that much is a matter of law. As for his genuine holiness or lack thereof, I would have to meet him in order to tell. But I’ve met Native Americans who were extremely white, with as little as the “self-described victim’s” great-great-grandmother’s worth of Native American blood, who were quite genuine and passionate and traditional in their practice of e.g. the Navajo religion. And some Native American religious traditions are quite welcoming of those without any Native American blood at all. I really don’t think it’s for you (or the government) to judge.

      “And do you agree that the article states that if he were a member of one of the recognized tribes, there would be issue?”

      Sure but why does the government get to decide who is “authentic” or “recognized” as a Native American and who is not? Isn’t that a question for the Native American community? And what does any of this have to do with protecting eagles? Chances are, if he obtained the feather illicitly, the illicit supplier is also illicitly supplying other animal parts. Going after the little guy is precisely going for the “low-hanging fruit” as criticized by Steve D. It would be far more effective to look into the supply chain and make arrests and confiscate the property of people who are actually violating the law, if the goal is protecting eagles and not justifying the salaries of FWS employees.

      • Watusie

        So, you are happy for regulation to protect eagles, so long as it is amateurish, ineffective, and contains a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.

        AWS Agent: Sir, that is a bald eagle feather, you are not allowed to possess them.
        Trafficker: Its OK. I found it.
        AWS Agent: Well then, have a nice day.

        Blanket ban means you get nailed for possession, denying the trafficker his escape route if his plan is to shoot eagles then bring the feathers to the market one or two at a time, but gets caught with them in his possession along the way. Also demotivating the guy who would otherwise buy the trafficked feathers, because he knows he risks losing them and his money, even if he claims that he, too, “found” them.

        When the ban was brought in, the recognized tribes were allowed to keep their ancestral collections. A perfectly reasonable balancing act.

        “Going after the little guy is precisely going for the “low-hanging fruit” as criticized by Steve D. It would be far more effective to look into the supply chain and make arrests and confiscate the property of people who are actually violating the law, if the goal is protecting eagles and not justifying the salaries of FWS employees.”

        This is just so immensely stupid. Confiscating the property of a man who was actually violating the law is exactly what you and Steve are bitching about.

        “Little guy”? Well, it is you, not me, who needs to start “paying attention”. How did the FWS agent know about the self-proclaimed Apache holy man? Not a random newspaper photograph, as you claim, but an ADVERTISEMENT for the pow-wow, showing the self-proclaimed Apache holy man and his illegal possessions, which probably made for quite a striking image.

        And finally, consider the dialog above, but insert “I declare myself to be an Apache Holy Man” as the excuse. Every bit as stupid.

        • Demosthenes

          Arguments in favor of amending the law have been made on the grounds that it imposes racial preferences and segregation not traditionally found amongst Native American societies, and additionally that the race requirement of tribal enrollment to possess eagles undermines tribal sovereignty rights to fully welcome and include others in tribal customs involving eagle feathers, thus harming the preservation of traditional values and practices of indigenous societies that have welcomed non-Native Americans for centuries. It is also argued that eagle permit certification restrictions based on race impede people with Native American ancestry, but who may be unable to prove their ancestry, from exploring their heritage. Supporters advocate removing racial requirements from 50 CFR 22, stating that because such action will enable all U.S. citizens to apply for eagles or parts from the National Eagle Repository (overseen by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service), it would extend the ability of government-regulated programs and agencies to protect raptors by decreasing the profitability of raptor poaching and trafficking.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_feather_law

        • Watusie

          You sneakily deleted the four places where the editor noted that references would be needed if this is to stand.

          Not very honest of you. Which is a pattern of yours, when you can’t defend your positions.

          The random opinion of an anonymous person does not take on authority simply because it has been typed into Wikipedia.

        • Demosthenes

          I take out the inline citation marker numbers every single time I quote WikiPedia, so I fail to see anything “sneaky” about having done it above. Regardless, there are plenty of pages with “citation needed,” and in this case obviously these are the arguments that people are making against the law. Just do a 10 minute Google search and you’ll see these arguments all over the place. I couldn’t find the actual judgments or briefs, then again I don’t have LexisNexis from my current location. The point is not who is making these arguments, the point is that these are the arguments that are being made. And they are most certainly being made.