Many Government Regulations Are Wasteful, Burdensome

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), April 10, 2011 | Go to article overview

Many Government Regulations Are Wasteful, Burdensome


Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Larry Wood

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is currently seeking comments on proposed rule changes that would extend its authority to smaller parcels of land and increase fees to cover program cost increases. The proposed new fees, permits and regulations are prime examples of the self-perpetuating and expansive nature of government bureaucracies. These organizations' focus seems to be the expansion of rules and regulations to affect everyone, everything, everywhere, along with the permits and fees to support them.

Every economic entity is struggling under the burden of government regulation. The cost of these regulations and their enforcement is much greater than the nominal fees charged for permits. The costs of implementation and compliance is stifling the very businesses that pay much of the costs of operating the government bureaucracies that continue to promulgate new regulations and fees, and the economy is not faring well. I am reminded of the parable of the golden goose.

The state of California is deeply in debt and would be long overdue in bankruptcy court were it not a public agency. I am convinced that over-regulation and the associated high cost of doing business there are in large part to blame for the loss of business vitality in California, along with the loss of government revenues associated with a healthy economy. Regulations are choking the golden goose.

Oregon and many other states are headed in the same direction.

Businesses do not pay taxes, fees or other costs of regulation. You and I pay all the costs - hidden taxes, if you will - of regulation through higher prices and inflation. Regulation touches every aspect of our lives, including food, medicine, transportation, construction, clothing, education, ad infinitum. Some regulations are necessary and beneficial, while others are wasteful and heavy-handed, but every one of them has a cost that eats away at our collective wealth and discourages entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Every time I see silt fences installed on the uphill side of a construction site (this happens quite often), I am reminded of the waste inherent in many regulations. Did I miss something? Does water now flow uphill? Have the laws of gravity changed? Even if the regulations do not specifically require a silt fence on the uphill side of a construction site slope, the rules are sufficiently vague that erosion control designers and contractors interpret the requirements this way to be sure that they are in compliance. …

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Many Government Regulations Are Wasteful, Burdensome
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