A remedy for overregulation

rulesIf the 2016 presidential election has proved anything so far, it’s that millions of Americans know something is seriously wrong in Washington and they want it fixed. They’re right.

The fact is that needless regulations, gross mismanagement and outright fraud have crippled our economy, stifled businesses and choked off job creation. The federal government collects $3.5 trillion in taxes and then forces us to pay another $2 trillion in regulation costs — and then another $1 trillion in waste and fraud. The gross domestic product has only averaged 1.7 percent annual growth over the last 15 years compared to 3.5 percent over the previous 50 years. That’s why the middle class has not had a raise in 15 years.

There are dozens of studies that confirm this. For example, a National Association of Manufacturer’s report in 2014 concluded that complying with federal regulations costs all companies about $10,000 a year per employee; manufacturers nearly $20,000, and manufacturers with fewer than 50 workers a whopping $35,000. A working paper from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released last April shows that regulations have cost the U.S. economy 0.8 percent in growth every year since 1980. Without that, our economy would have been 25 percent larger in 2012. That’s $4 trillion more per year.

House Speaker Paul Ryan identified easing regulations as a priority earlier this month. His plan is a good start but doesn’t go nearly far enough. Here’s what should happen:

By executive order, the next president should scrap the present system and start over. Every government agency should be given a board of directors made up of seasoned business executives and eminent industry experts equally divided between Democrats and Republicans (and as many true independents as we can find) who either volunteer their services or receive modest compensation.

Congress would need to authorize funding for the agencies as it does now, but wouldn’t be able to block the new structure, which is the president’s prerogative. He is, after all, the head of the executive branch.

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