Ryan Pushes Regulatory Reform ; House Speakers Plan Aims to Simplify Process, Assure Quality

By McLaughlin, Patrick | Charleston Gazette Mail, June 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

Ryan Pushes Regulatory Reform ; House Speakers Plan Aims to Simplify Process, Assure Quality


McLaughlin, Patrick, Charleston Gazette Mail


House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., recently unveiled an ambitious regulatory reform agenda. Its chock full of ideas, but at its core, they stem from one simple question: What regulatory process would deliver the most effective regulations at a reasonable cost?

While most regulatory experts and some politicians can point to a regulation that seems ineffective, silly, or even harmful, this plan goes deeper by addressing the underlying problem: the process itself. By articulating a positive vision for the regulatory process, Ryans agenda clearly stands apart from mere election-year rhetoric.

The envisioned regulatory process is simple:

First, prior to regulating, investigate whether a regulation would actually address an otherwise intractable problem.

Second, consider various approaches to solving that problem, including market-based alternatives. A failure to consider a wide range of options is equivalent to buying the first house a realtor shows you.

Third, go back and review regulations to see if they have worked as intended, and modify or eliminate those that are obsolete or ineffective.

As in any process involving people, the creation of laws and regulations is subject to human error. Technology companies, for example, perpetually correct bugs and flaws, as evidenced by the updates to your phones or computers operating system.

But those companies dont just correct errors discovered after products are released. They also re-examine the product creation process itself and seek ways to reduce the error rate.

Ryans agenda follows a similar logic. Regulations are legal products jointly created by Congress because all regulatory authority stems from congressional mandates and regulatory agencies. If we want to reduce the error rate, we need a process that assures quality and usefulness, both during the creation phase and after their effects have been observed.

How do we get there? Regulatory process reform begins with the three Is: Information, Incentives and Implementation.

To improve any process, you need to know how well the current one is working. Which products perform best? Which products were ineffective? What features of the current process are linked to the best performers and the worst performers? …

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