Do Regulators Know What They're Doing?

By Payne, James L. | Ideas on Liberty, August 2001 | Go to article overview

Do Regulators Know What They're Doing?


Payne, James L., Ideas on Liberty


IDEAS ON LIBERTY

AUGUST 2001

Society gives great power to the regulators who set standards for the rest of us, butstrangely-it does not set standards for the regulators themselves. The laws that establish regulatory systems do not require that those who write regulations on health, safety, commerce, transportation, and so on have any definite ability or qualifications. Prospective regulators do not have to pass IQ tests. They do not have to demonstrate that they have analytical minds. They do not have to prove that they have a command of any important body of medicine, science, or engineering. They do not have to demonstrate proficiency in costbenefit analysis. In most cases, you become a regulation-writer simply by walking off the street and getting a job in a bureaucracy. Fire codes, plumbing codes, electrical codes, building codes, zoning codes, health and safety codes: these regulations are, in almost all cases, drawn up by ordinary people who are guided by little more than their own opinions and prevailing prejudice.

We recently had a case of regulation writing here in northern Idaho that illustrates how shallow this process of rule-making can be. Last summer an "Environmental Specialist" of the Panhandle Health District announced new proposed regulations for daycare establishments. The aim, Mrs. Jean Hughes told the local newspaper, was to "catch a lot of the smaller daycare centers" and bring them under the jurisdiction of her office. The new rules would require those who care for as few as two children to be licensed. To make sure daycare providers were doing the right thing, Mrs. Hughes drafted 15 pages of regulations, which contained over 680 requirements, covering everything from posting an "emergency evacuation plan" to keeping hot foods above 145 degrees.

According to Mrs. Hughes, these regulations were just the beginning, the "foundation" of a still more comprehensive plan of daycare regulation incorporating the wish lists of "child care advocates." What made the prospect of this regulatory empire so disturbing was that it appeared to have no basis in science, medicine, or economics. To confirm this suspicion, I went to the Health District and requested a copy of the justification for the regulations. I was told that there was no such document. So I wrote Mrs. Hughes, challenging her to provide the rationale for her regulations. She did not reply.

To motivate a response, I made my letter public by having it published in the local newspaper. It ran as follows:

Dear Mrs. Hughes:

I'm sorry you are not responding to my requests for information about the new daycare regulations you are elaborating on behalf of the State of Idaho. Since these regulations will have the force of law, and will be backed by police power, it seems to me you have an obligation to be forthcoming about your rationale for imposing them.

Thus far, your office has produced only the proposed regulations, and not one word of justification. Here are some of the questions you need to answer:

1. How many of these "micro" daycare establishments that you propose to regulate are there? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Do Regulators Know What They're Doing?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.