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In our opinion: One very small step

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  • Utah Businessman Sandy, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 7:43 p.m.

    Speaking of the cost of "regulation", I wonder if anyone really has any idea of how many billions or trillions the Obamacare boondoggle is going to cost? I am not talking about the cost of the health care--I am talking about the cost of all of the huge bureacracy needed to admininister it. Of course there is also the huge cost to businesses as they try to comply with all of its requirements--money that otherwise could be used to pay employees for actually doing work.

  • Rich Robinson WASHINGTON, DC
    Aug. 25, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    The "cost" of regulations that is cited is completely bogus. That phony figure of $1.75 trillion comes from what is called the Crain and Crain study and it was commissioned by the SBA NOT for the purpose of figuring out how much federal rules cost the economy, but to get a better handle on the impact of regulation on small businesses, compared to large businesses.

    The number has been utterly debunked by several organizations, including the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute and the Congressional Research Service.

    The figure has taken on a life of its own and has been repeated incessantly by corporate spokespeople, lawmakers, and special interest lobbyists.

    At a recent Senate hearing Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said the outrageous dollar figure should be considered nothing more than urban legend. Austan Goolsbee, the former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, called the figure utterly erroneous.

    Members of Congress, proponents of Big Business and others who cite the phony cost figure need to cease. It is overstated and misleading, and lawmakers should not use it as the basis for policymaking.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    to 10CC - if you think the EPA is looking out for the people you have really been mislead. The EPA is a 'run away' organization that must be eliminated. It is costing billions of dollars in regulations and lost jobs.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 9:25 p.m.

    Procurafiscal:

    I have no idea who Cass Sunstein is and I pay no attention to anything that emanates from think tanks.

    The GAO reviewed the EPA report.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 24, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    TheProudDuck,

    Deregulation of the financial sector happened over decades and in several ways. The regulation of traditional banks was relaxed. The rising "shadow banks" (wholesalers who bought large chunks of loans for bond pools - providing the retail banks with liquidity) were unregulated from the start. Non-bank players like AIG were regulated in some areas but not in others (such as their CDO operation). The rating agencies were assumed to be self-regulating but turned out to simply be acting in their own interests.

    We bought into the mindset that financial markets are self-regulating and did not need significant oversight. That was not the reality and we suffered for believing a lie.

    Our regulatory generals may be "fighting the last war . . . and are . . . surprised at when a whole new flavor of calamity plows right through the regulations".

    But we don't get rid of our generals and assume that our national security will take care of itself. Despite their limitations, our generals have at least some efficacy in defending our nation.

    So too, regulations have some efficacy in protecting us. But they are imperfect and malefactors always learn new ways to scam.

    The answer is vigilance, not acquiescence.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 24, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    patriot - It was a $783 billion dollar stimulus that included $237 billion in tax cuts. The only people who claimed we "borrowed" $783 billion are all the naysayers who were against it (and anything else the president supported). Now of course, in true fashion, those same folks have set up the usual Straw Man claiming we borrowed the full amount to give tax breaks (when he didn't) and then wonder why he would do that. I'm getting dizzy trying to follow your logic.

    worf - nice try. So your claiming the only way Harry Reid won the election was because unions held a gun to the voters' heads? And I'm sure you have solid proof of that. The latest statistics show approximately 15% of Nevada's workers belong to a union. So how do you account for the other 36% required to win the election? Or were the unions threatening everyone?

    I'll give you this, you are creative.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    If you believe Cass Sunstein you are a fool! To ECR - the founders intended for people to serve a short time and then return home, not make Washington a career. We need change we can believe in and that means new blood with new ideas. Obviously the current group has no new ideas. And you wonder how you enter public service a pauper and leave a millionaire!

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 7:20 p.m.

    To patriot: To quote John McEnroe "you cannot be serious". Due to his tax cuts and increased military spending, Reagan tripled the national debt in his eight years in office, but you state that "he didn't borrow a dime to do it".

    To TheProudDuck: I know all about the end of Bretton Woods, no massive collapse occurred in the banking system. It wasn't until the 80's when regulations were relaxed that we had, first the Savings and Loan collapse, followed by many others.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    Re: "Scrutinized Cost-Benefit analysis of the Clean Air Act reveals approximately $50 Billion in costs, $1.3 Trillion in benefits . . . ."

    Scrutinized? By who? Noted uber-liberal greenie Dean Revesz, of NYU Law?

    $1.3T in "benefits?" Even Dean Revesz wasn't foolish enough to give a citation for such an absurd assertion.

    Some of us were born at night, but it wasn't last night.

    Wildly counter-intuitive and completely unsupported political propaganda, emanating from a green/socialist think tank, may be considered useful in a crowd of desperate academics, scratching for federal grants and fodder for their self-congratulatory, ivory-tower journals, but it doesn't convince real people.

    Expensive, ineffectual, job-killing, price-raising, purposely vague, political power-play regulations never produced a nickel -- let alone trillions of dollars -- of clean-air, particularly in an age when the air has already been cleaned.

    And sappy regulations cost us way more than $50B.

    Blather about quantifying social benefits in dollar terms is precisely the sort of claptrap we've come to expect from greenies who have nothing to peddle but fear.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 24, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    "Our country seems to follow a cycle of under-regulation, crisis, over-regulation, deregulation to the point of under-regulation and back into another crisis."

    And yet the Federal Register has kept growing, and growing, and growing.

    What "seems" to be periods of "under-regulation," are only times where the growth of regulation briefly slows down. It never stops, much less goes backwards. Even the (fairly intelligent) transportation deregulation under President Carter (i.e., the Staggers Act which saved the railroads from ridiculously obsolete rules written for the era of steam trains, and the airline deregulation which gets you $50 JetBlue flights to SoCal) are typically offset, and then some, by whole new bucketloads of regulations in other fields.

    "Deregulation," to me, means the total number of regulations, and the burden of complying with them, goes from (X) this year, to (X minus Y) next year. *That* has never happened. Ever. And until the regulatory behemoth strangles productive society completely, and we all have to start from our dirt-farm beginnings, it never will.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 24, 2011 5:30 p.m.

    "It is a better approach than in not enforcing regulations at all. This approach leads to lots of problems, including the Dept. of Interior scandal in Denver, mining disasters, the Gulf oil spill, and the near meltdown of Wall Street that we saw in the prior Administration."

    Think about this for a minute. All of those disasters occurred in a highly regulated environment.

    You'd almost think that the regulatory approach isn't the cure-all it's advertised to be. You might even think that regulators, like generals, are always fighting the last war, and are always like *totally* surprised at when a whole new flavor of calamity plows right through the regulations and clobbers them.

    Look at Sarbanes-Oxley -- the fruit of the last popping bubble. We promptly blew up a whole different kind of bubble, and SarbOx -- for all the massive costs it imposed -- didn't do us a darn bit of good.

    I'm inclined to think that the common law -- the basic rules against fraud, theft, negligence, nuisance, and so forth -- can protect the public just as well as all the oodles of arcane regulations do, or more precisely, don't.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 24, 2011 5:26 p.m.

    I keep hearing the 2008 financial crisis blamed (by liberals) on "deregulation." But I've never actually seen the explanation of what, precisely, got deregulated, and how the regulation that was eliminated would have prevented people from lying their way into more homes than they could afford.

    Glass-Steagall is usually mentioned -- the Depression-era law that barred investment banks from engaging in commercial banking or insurance. Unfortunately for that theory, there's no indication that there was much difference between banks that took advantage of the repeal of GS to become investment/commercial banks, and those that stayed commercial-only: They pretty much all came down with a serious case of stupid during the housing bubble.

    What we needed, was a rule forbidding originating all but fully-amortizing mortgages with less than full income documentation. But we never had such a rule. It wasn't so much "deregulation," as a failure to regulate in the first place.

    And Roland, re: no banking crises until 1981, I invite you to read up on the collapse of the New Bretton Woods financial system, and the resulting hyperinflation of the 1970s. Arguably, *that* banking crisis (during the good old regulated days) caused everything afterwards.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    Is the DN really going to quote and take seriously the words of Cass Sunstein? This guy is one of the Obamaites that is heck bent on destroying individual freedom in exchange for the collective, you know.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 4:29 p.m.

    re:ECR

    Have you gotten a tax cut? I have checked my W2's for the past couple years and I see no tax cuts. My income tax totals at years end are higher - not lower and I am definitely right smack in the middle class. I guess these "phantom tax cuts" that you mentioned are either too small and insignificant to even notice or there were no tax cuts period - I think the latter is more likely. Also, explain to me how you BORROW 800 BILLION in stimulus from China which balloons are national debt and leads to our credit downgrade and then turn around and cut taxes with that money? Does that make ANY sense to you at all?? Why would we have to borrow to raise taxes?? Reagan DID actually cut taxes (for real) and he didn't borrow a dime to do it. Bottom line - there were NO TAX CUTS for the middle class but there were billions of welfare checks sent out to poor folks and dead folks and illegals and just about everyone but Micky and Goofy.... and you see the result... 9.3% unemployment and a credit downgrade. Great job Barack!!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 3:11 p.m.

    Procuradorfiscal:

    Scrutinized Cost-Benefit analysis of the Clean Air Act reveals approximately $50 Billion in costs, $1.3 Trillion in benefits, for the year 2010, with about 160,000 lives spared to premature death.

    From a business standpoint, focused on the immediate bottom line, the $50 Billion stands out as a burdensome anchor on the economy. It's understandable how businessmen would view the subject in these terms. It's their focus.

    But taking a wider view, it's apparent the Clean Air Act produces a large societal benefit, quantifiable in dollar terms. This ratio is about 30-to-1.

    Who looks out for the public in the scenario where the EPA is eliminated?

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 24, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    @ECR:

    Many people in Neveda were pressured into voting for Harry because of his influence with unions. Not a peoples choice.

    Political office is service to the country and not a career.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    Asking the fox that controls the hen house to reduce control of the hens is not a very effective approach. And, the administration tepid results demonstrate this. The fact is new regulations put in place since this adminstration took office will cost much, much more than these tepid reductions. And, again this adminstrationmiss represents, "eliminating regulation". Changes in the way forms are filed may be operations improvement, but they are not regulation removement. Here is an idea legislate a number and page size limit for regulations for each agency in government. Then hold the highly paid administrators responsible for meeting the targets. And, lets not have any talk about it is not possible, the administration just forced through new cafe standards that will raise the price of cars by thousands, no choice for industry, then no choice should be allowed for the bureaucrats.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 24, 2011 1:39 p.m.

    worf suggested making the following changes, "Length of time politicians can serve. Goodbye Harry & Nancy."

    So you would deny the right of the American voter to pick who they want to represent them? What country do you live in? Oh, I see, Texas.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 24, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    Some needed regulations:

    1. Funds for presidential vacations.
    2. Amount of wars without congressional approval.
    3. Spending
    4. Taxes--set percentage for all or none at all.
    5. Government involvement in education. Big scam.
    6. Length of time politicians can serve. Goodbye Harry & Nancy.
    7. Presidential candidates--full background checks given to citizens.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 24, 2011 11:18 a.m.

    Patriot said, "...new borrowed stimulus (which just might be as successful as the last two). Mitch McConnell was correct when he stated that without a new president."

    The stimulus package included $237 billion in tax cuts. Almost $100 billion of that was targeted at lower and middle class households. But Republiucans hardly acknowledge that fact, primarily because they don't believe anything that helps lower and middle class households is good for anything. The remainder of the stimulus provided emplyment for over 2.0 million people. The employment was only temporary and that's exactly what it was intended to be - a stop gap while the economy recovered.

    What Mitch McConnel intended to say, or at least the message he was sending to his supporters was "NO REAL PROGRESS ECONOMICALLY will happen until we get rid of this black president and we will not do anything to help him keep his office." And they've kept that promise.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    The attack on the freedom of the American people is nowhere more visible than in the attack of the conservative commercial republicans to reduce and eliminate those pesky government regulations that cost business so much and are difficult to follow. Little matter that the regulation are of vitally importance to the freedom of people.

    Regulation that are problems are those bought and created by one business in the competition between businesses. Regulations that protect people are good.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    Re: "You may pare the force down (slowly) but you recognize that malefactors will likely reappear once the incentives change."

    Sounds good to me!

    When do liberals think EPA should start paring down?

    Problem is -- too many liberals and tree-huggers depend on a bloated, expensive, ineffective, inefficient, out-of-control bureaucracy for their own jobs.

    Venal self-interest.

    Liberals and tree huggers created a bureaucracy that is much more amenable to closing down mines, oil fields, dairies, farms, ranches, fishing, and recreation, than they are to "paring back" the enviro-victimization industry.

    Primarily because that kills someone else's job, not their own.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    Forbes Magazine Rates SLC 9th most toxic city to live in.
    We can be number one if we agree with the conservative approach.

    IF we get rid of the EPA the pollution will go away too.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    Removing Obama from office in 2012 - one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    But you are missing the whole point. The objective of Barack Obama over the next year is to grossly overstate tax cuts, de-regulation etc.. to give the appearance that he is actually on the side business when in fact the exact opposite is the case. Very true, the 4 billion in regulation savings is nothing but a drop in the bucket but it is being touted as a huge deal by the Obama media and the White House. Wait until we hear the new economic deal on Sept 6 of this year from the great one himself. Expect the same sort of thing - over stating and using misleading data for political gain. There will be no new plan - just a re-hash of the same ole same ole. Another new government agency (wow that ought to do the trick) and another new borrowed stimulus (which just might be as successful as the last two). There will be some phony future promises of spending cuts thrown in just to dress it up a bit but essentially nothing new from Obama. Mitch McConnell was correct when he stated that NO REAL PROGRESS ECONOMICALLY is possible without a new president.

  • justaguy Out There in, WI
    Aug. 24, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Our country seems to follow a cycle of under-regulation, crisis, over-regulation, deregulation to the point of under-regulation and back into another crisis. I'm in favor of finding the balance and I think regular review of the need and efficiency of current regulation is part of that balance.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 24, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    Procuradorfiscal,

    There may well be some loss of jobs due to regulation though regulation creates some (private) jobs in the compliance area.

    Agreed that we have much cleaner air now than most of us remember from our youth. But to some degree this is analogous to crime. When your city was previously crime ridden and is now finally safe, you don't fire all of the police. You may pare the force down (slowly) but you recognize that malefactors will likely reappear once the incentives change.

    In order to maintain the good you have achieved, you have to keep the incentives (monetary and criminal) at a level where most folks thinking of engaging in bad acts are dissuaded and those that proceed with bad acts have a reasonable likelihood of getting caught and punished.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 24, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    I'm continually baffled by you conservatives and your campaign against clean air, water, and land. You conservatives are apparently not in favor of "conserving" anything. You want the EPA to pack up and go home? What then? Do you honestly believe an unregulated business community would voluntarily spend money cleaning up their messes? When did that ever happen in the whole of human history? Just baffling...

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    Re: "The false choice is offered: clean air regulations, or jobs."

    It's not a false choice. The clean air regulatory scam has cost millions of jobs, and every new clean air regulation costs more.

    At one point, when the Nation's air was in bad shape, regulation seemed like a good tradeoff -- a few jobs for a lot of clean air.

    Now we've got cleaner air than any of us alive at the time could ever have hoped for [unsubstantiated bleating of a couple young, radical medicos notwithstanding], but the bloated clean air bureaucracy is still with us, is still dependent on taxpayer and industry largesse for THEIR jobs, and is still killing others' jobs.

    The bureaucratic tail is wagging the dog. Producing more and more costly regulation, more and more job loss, less and less effective air cleanup.

    When is enough be enough? The air is cleaner than it's ever been. There's no crisis, other than those manufactured by the bureaucracy.

    Now seems like a good time for the EPA to declare victory and go home.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 24, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    Mike Richards,

    Your last sentence is correct. "Their only authority is to enforce legislation passed by Congress". The executive branch is the enforcer which is (one reason) why these agencies report to the president. Giving congress enforcement powers would violate the separation of powers inherent in the constitution. Surely not a good idea.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 24, 2011 7:40 a.m.

    Put all regulatory agencies directly under the jurisdiction of Congress so that our Representatives control what those agencies do. Congress legislates. It is the ONLY branch of government authorized to legislate. The President cannot legislate - legally. The court cannot legislate - legally. No agency of any branch of government can legislate - legally. That means that regulatory agencies have no authority to legislate. Their only authority is to enforce legislation passed by Congress.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 6:34 a.m.

    Government regulation is important, but regulations should be regularly reviewed for their effectiveness. The Obama Administration is involved in this process, and the Clinton Administration did the same thing in Al Gore's famous and well regarded initiative. It is a better approach than in not enforcing regulations at all. This approach leads to lots of problems, including the Dept. of Interior scandal in Denver, mining disasters, the Gulf oil spill, and the near meltdown of Wall Street that we saw in the prior Administration. A blanket condemnation of regulations is nothing more than an effort to feed the greed of a special interest group. And we all suffer when they get their way. Remember that.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 5:57 a.m.

    The problem with moving the effort to review and streamline regulation to Congress is twofold:

    1. The US Congress has become an even bigger laughing stock of entrenched political paralysis, to the point of being mentioned specifically as a key reason behind S&P's downgrade of US Government's credit rating.

    2. There are elements in the far right who unflinchingly advocate not just streamlining reform, but wholesale elimination of long standing regulatory agencies, like the EPA. The false choice is offered: clean air regulations, or jobs.

    Instead of moving this effort to a highly politicized arena where Armageddon is likely to occur, maybe a re-invigorated effort within the executive branch can be encouraged, with a positive incentives to streamline regulations identified and promoted.

    Maybe Congress should work on the basics of their responsibilities before taking on additional causes.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 24, 2011 5:54 a.m.

    "The White House has taken one very small step toward regulatory sanity, but, contrary to the rhetoric in the White House's press release, there is no giant leap to celebrate."

    At this point it might be worthwhile to review details of the report cited from the SBA.

    "A caveat is necessary at this point. This current iteration of the study uses an index for the calculation of the economic regulations estimate that is wider and more encompassing than that previously used...it provides the study with a fuller estimate, thus partially remedying previous underestimates. A significant increase in the new estimate is due to the new, more encompassing methodology. To obtain an idea of how much of the increase in the estimate of economic regulations was due to the new methodology, the authors ran the new index on the 2005 data, in effect re-estimating the 2005 model...The economic regulations increased from $727 billion to $1.172 trillion, a $445 billion increase."

    The administration now has more detailed, more accurate information and, unlike past administrations, they are beginning to chip away at those unnecessary and costly regulations. That seems like a huge leap to me.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    The regulations imposed by Dodd-Frank are far less intrusive than the banking regulations that were in force from 1944-1981. This was a period that saw no banking crises, since the elimination of the regulations we have has several, culminating in the collapse of 2008.

    By all means let's make regulations sensible, but don't go too far the other way.