Sunday, August 28, 2016

Red tape? Think state and local regs….

 The standard campaign watchword is “reduce government regulations and red tape that hurts businesses,” or, in throwaway stump speech language: “Get rid of job-killing regulations!”

Most of the time, the target is federal regs.

However, Katherine Rampell at says wait a minute, look elsewhere:
“…if you talk with entrepreneurs, you’ll learn that — with the major exception of our criminally convoluted [federal] tax system — the most burdensome barriers to their efforts often don’t originate with the feds.”

Instead, she points to state and local regs governing occupational licensing, business licensing, registrations, permitting, hiring, overtime pay, zoning, insurance, size of the business sign, parking….

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in favor of government at all levels regulating the conduct of business operations. I’m happy that somebody somewhere is supposed to be checking on hazardous waste disposal, honest payment of overtime, hiring discrimination, product quality, on-the-job safety….

Here’s another note that isn’t often mentioned: Rampell points out that “Powerful industry groups and other organizations also have a vested interest in preserving barriers to entry, which is one reason so few occupations ever get de-licensed.” There are plenty of regulations that plenty of businesses love to have imposed on real and potential competitors.

Are some government regulations out-of-date, poorly written, poorly enforced, just plain dumb….? Sure.

We should talk about fixing all the problems with business regs, not about getting rid of them.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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