Two forces make American laws too complex. One is hubris. Many lawmakers seem to believe that they can lay down rules to govern every eventuality. Examples range from the merely annoying (eg, a proposed code for nurseries in Colorado that specifies how many crayons each box must contain) to the delusional (eg, the conceit of Dodd-Frank that you can anticipate and ban every nasty trick financiers will dream up in the future). Far from preventing abuses, complexity creates loopholes that the shrewd can abuse with impunity.
The other force that makes American laws complex is lobbying. The government’s drive to micromanage so many activities creates a huge incentive for interest groups to push for special favours. When a bill is hundreds of pages long, it is not hard for congressmen to slip in clauses that benefit their chums and campaign donors. The health-care bill included tons of favours for the pushy. Congress’s last, failed attempt to regulate greenhouse gases was even worse.
Complexity costs money. Sarbanes-Oxley, a law aimed at preventing Enron-style frauds, has made it so difficult to list shares on an American stockmarket that firms increasingly look elsewhere or stay private. America’s share of initial public offerings fell from 67% in 2002 (when Sarbox passed) to 16% last year, despite some benign tweaks to the law. A study for the Small Business Administration, a government body, found that regulations in general add $10,585 in costs per employee. It’s a wonder the jobless rate isn’t even higher than it is.
Hubris and lobbying is an appropriate way to describe the two forces that have resulted in excessive regulation in the land of the free. Hayek would have wept if he’d seen what the country known worldwide for its “free market” had become.
This battle of regulation shouldn’t be about having Washington pick winners and losers. If we want to regulate, keep it simple enough so that small businesses can comply with regulations instead of being pushed out of markets by the expense of simply complying with new laws.
Seriously. Normally my family only really calls for major holidays and birthdays so this was odd. But apparently she called to tell/remind me that when I was a week from seven months old we had all been sitting around to watch the Challenger space shuttle launch (because that is…
I remember seeing the Challenger explode when I was super young. I laughed because I thought the tendrils of smoke looked like Mickey Mouse ears, I recall my mom saying it wasn’t funny. I was about 3 at the time. It’s a weird and early memory.
‘Alcohol kills approximately 70,000 people per year. Prescription pills, which have helped overdose become the leading cause of accidental death in America, result in more than 20,000 deaths per year. Marijuana has never killed anybody.
Although scientific research is available to show that pot is relatively harmless, and in fact medically beneficial, myths and propaganda about the plant’s alleged harm lead to marijuana laws so severe they often have the unintended consequence of driving people to drink alcohol, a much more dangerous substance than pot.’
‘Today, the European Union and 22 member states signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. They have now joined the US and seven other nations that signed the treaty last October.
This signing ceremony merely formalized the EU’s adoption of ACTA last month, during a completely unrelated meeting on agriculture and fisheries, reports TechDirt.
Though initiated by the US, Japan is the official depository of the treaty.
Removal of the Three Strikes clause, in which users accused of three counts of piracy would be barred from the internet, paved the way for the EU to adopt ACTA last month.