Is there a way to resolve regulatory tensions?
Government regulations touch nearly every aspect of the American economy, from advertising to employment, privacy, safety, health and the environment. About 300,000 full-time government workers are involved in the regulatory system, and agencies issue more than 3,000 federal regulations annually. States and municipal governments, meanwhile, issue their own regulations that they tailor to local conditions. Critics complain that all these rules dampen economic activity, raise industry expenses and cost workers' jobs. Defenders say that the benefits to society outweigh the costs. Critics have another complaint, too: The regulatory system has not kept up with the times. Experts say multiple challenges remain if the federal regulatory system is to improve. One of the biggest is how to properly assess regulations after they go into effect, a process known as “retrospective review.”
Coglianese, Cary, ed., “Regulatory Breakdown: The Crisis of Confidence in U.S. Regulation,” University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. Numerous academics explore the state of the U.S. regulatory system and suggest ways to improve it.
Drutman, Lee, “The Business of America Is Lobbying: How Corporations Became More Politicized and Politics Became More Corporate,” Oxford University Press, 2015. A senior fellow at the New America Foundation think tank studies the influence of companies' political contributions to lawmakers.
Marlow, Michael L., “The Myth of Fair and Efficient Government: Why the Government You Want Is Not the Government You Get,” Praeger, 2011. A California Polytechnic State University economist, who is also a senior scholar at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, argues that private markets are superior to government in naturally producing efficient outcomes.
Smith, Hedrick, “Who Stole the American Dream?” Random House, 2012. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist chronicles how business lobby groups became a force in American politics.
Sunstein, Cass R., “Simpler: The Future of Government,” Simon & Schuster, 2014. The former director of the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), now a Harvard Law School professor, explains his views on governmental regulation of business.
Amy, Douglas J., “How Government is Good for Business,” GovernmentIsGood.com, undated, accessed May 26, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Coglianese, Cary, “An Easier Way to Untangle Regulatory Knots,” RegBlog, April 6, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
De Rugy, Veronique, “The Best Regulator? That's Easy. It's the Market,” The Daily Beast, Oct. 16, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Donohue, Thomas J., “Tell the Truth on Regulations,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog, April 13, 2015, http://uscham.com/
Newport, Frank, “Few Americans Want More Government Regulation of Business,” Gallup.com, Sept. 14, 2014, http://bit.ly/
Schor, Elana, and Andrew Restuccia, “‘Pipelines Blow Up and People Die,’” Politico, April 21, 2015, http://politi.co/
Reports and Studies
“Quality Control: Federal Regulation Policy,” Council on Foreign Relations, March 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Carey, Maeve P., “Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register,” Congressional Research Service, Nov. 26, 2014, http://bit.ly/
Lipsky, Michael, “Rulemaking as a Tool of Democracy,” Dēmos, Dec. 17, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Wallach, Philip A., “An Opportune Moment for Regulatory Reform,” Brookings Institution, April 11, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Effects on Economy
Devaney, Tim, “Republicans introduce bill to rein in regulators,” The Hill, Jan. 22, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Lieb, David A., “States Saying ‘No’ To Cities Seeking To Regulate Businesses,” The Associated Press, May 18, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
MacDonald, Elizabeth, “Cost of Federal Regulation: $1.88 trillion,” Fox Business, May 13, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Effects on Jobs
Goad, Benjamin, “GAO faults cost analyses for EPA regulations,” The Hill, Aug. 11, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
O'Donoghue, Amy Joi, “End of an era: Mercury rule shutters Utah's oldest power plant,” The Deseret News, April 14, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Strauss, Rebecca, “The US economy needs smarter regulations, not fewer,” Quartz, March 3, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Ewing, Jack, “Eurozone Economy Is Improving, E.C.B. Chief Says, but Outlook Is Muted,” The New York Times, May 22, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Fairless, Tom, and Sam Schechner, “EU Makes Play for Leverage Over E-Commerce,” The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Rigby, Elizabeth, “Javid to continue business ‘red tape challenge’ with £10bn cuts,” Financial Times, May 19, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Mason, Melanie, “Silicon Valley increasing its lobbying in California's Capitol,” Los Angeles Times, Feb. 28, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Pizzi, Michael, “For America's craft beer revolution, brewing battle has come to a head,” Al Jazeera America, Feb. 21, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Roberts, Deon, “Wells Fargo: No. 4 in assets, No. 1 in lobbying,” The Charlotte Observer, May 8, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
1775 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20036
Centrist think tank that concentrates on government and public policy issues, including regulation.
1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001
Libertarian think tank that frequently examines regulatory policies.
Economic Policy Institute
1333 H St., N.W., Suite 300 (East Tower), Washington, DC 20005
Think tank that focuses on economic trends and issues affecting labor.
3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor, Arlington, VA 22201
Research center at George Mason University that takes a free-market-oriented approach to regulation.
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
725 17th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20503
Federal agency under the White House's Office of Management and Budget that coordinates and oversees the development of regulations.
Penn Program on Regulation
3400 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
Think tank at the University of Pennsylvania Law School that conducts research on regulation policies.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H St., N.W., Washington, DC 20062
The leading lobbying group for American businesses.