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Comments about ‘In our opinion: The hidden costs’

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Published: Saturday, June 15 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Increased transparency is almost always good. No argument. The rules and regulations attending such transparency will, by the way, add to the Federal Register and the bemoaned bureaucracy, but that is another story.

Drill down in the referenced report to about page 23. There it begins to list some of the regulations by agency and then calls out some of the major ones. Most are very mundane “how tos” for things that Congress (who are elected) want and seem on their face necessary to cure a problem. I imagine that agencies won’t generally seek new regulation except to cure a problem as the process is a hassle and they then have to adapt to the new process themselves.

There are Congressional oversight committees for each agency and each agency is headed by someone appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. So there is accountability through our elected representatives.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Rather than using information like this to knee jerk demonise government, we should think about it. No matter how stupid it seems on the surface, almost no regulation exists in a vacuum. Usually, an apparently stupid regulation comes about because someone did something stupid, and now a regulation has to be put in place to discourage it from happening again.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Any proper economic analysis includes both the costs AND the benefits. It's myopic to focus only on costs.

For example, let's focus on costs associated with environmental regulation. They can be accounted for, but it seems we almost never hear about the benefits.

Utah is considering increasing the stringency of air pollution controls on automobiles, in much the same way California has done. In Los Angeles, the PM2.5 pollution count is lower than it has been in over 40 years. This can be translated into boosting life expectancy, perhaps by a couple of months, overall, and likely reducing sick days from asthma and other conditions. When you add up the benefits, they could very well be covering the costs.

In education, it's difficult to quantify benefits that may occur in the future, but in the case of more stringent curricula, one can reasonably infer that more robust education requirements will pay a dividend as students grow up and become available as assets to employers. This benefit is rarely listed, let alone quantified.

Citizens need to have estimates of both costs and benefits to know the results of their expenditures.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Before deciding whether regulations are needed, we need to ask whether the entire department that enforces those regulations is Constitutionally legal, or whether the "duties" performed by that department are duties that the Constitution requires to be left to the States or to the people.

Government has to justify itself. Regardless of the cost, government will find a way to make us think that it is doing what we expect it to do. Never will government tell us that the things that it does are Constitutionally illegal. Just notice how Obama stepped all over the 4th Amendment last week when he tried to "soothe" us into thinking that giving up freedom as a very small price to pay for his promised security.

Government cannot protect us. Count how many people were killed by criminals last year. Where was the governmental protection? How many people were abused? Where was the governmental protection?

Yes, do away with the regulations, but also do away with all Constitutionally illegal "programs" and departments.

Wonder
Provo, UT

I agree with some of the previous posts. Why no discussion at all of the "hidden" benefits of these regulations? Do you really want polluted air and water? Do you want tainted meat and medicines? Regulations are NOT bad. If you don't want laws or regulations, please feel free to move to a third world country and have at it.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

If we had this loser attitude 150+ years ago of only looking at the "costs" and never the "rewards" of sacrifice then we'd still be back east without a temple or religion.

What has happened to that pioneer "can do" spirit? It's all defeatist now. It's all negative now. We're always merely the "acted upon" instead of "acting upon" now.

Sooooo sad! My how I miss that positive change the world pioneer spirit! Perhaps Foxnews and AM radio has finally taken its toll. Now we just have poor sport the world is going all to heck failed GOP attitude. Just because the GOP is going extinct doesn't mean that we need to as well!

Sad times sad times.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

In the minds of ordinary people the absolute main purpose for having a government is for protection from the enemies that threaten us. In the minds of business people the main purpose of government is to provide the most favorable environment for their efforts.

And since the best environment for business is not always having protecting the people, and since the BPs control the government the government sometimes fails the ordinary people. For the most part, the best environment for business can only be had by giving some of the goodies to the people.

Government protects the people by regulations, rules and their enforcement. To remove the protection the BPs make up stories that point out the cost of the regulations and hint that without that cost the consumer would not have to pay so much.

Protection is the most important thing for people, cost only becomes important when it threatens the protection. If you are harmed or die from a bad product, it won’t much matter how much money you saved by not having it regulated.

patriot vet
Cedar City, UT

DB, are you telling us 47% of the budget is the cost of regulation? I question your math. According to Wikipedia...the major budget items are Defense (19%), Social Security (22%), Medicaid/Medicare (23%) and interset (6%). These add up to 70%.

Now I suppose you could count the military commend system as regulation, but that would be a stretch of truth. So, where did you get your 47% (1.8 trillion of 3.8)?

I'd say your numbers are right-wing baloney!

patriot vet
Cedar City, UT

DN Editor:
CORRECTION: DN...I found CEI (the source of your editorial) on Wikipedia. The correct figure is described in their annual report:
"On December 19, 2012, CEI released a "Regulatory Report Card" on the Environmental Protection Agency. The report, authored by Ryan Young, CEI Fellow in Regulatory Studies, attempts to assess the EPA’s regulatory activity and its impact on the U.S. economy.[19] The report estimates that regulations cost Americans $353 billion per year."

$353 Billion (while likely inflated by this organization) is a fraction of the 1.8 Trillion your editorial stated. $353 billion constitutes 9% of the Federal Budget, as opposed to the 1.8 Trillion ($47% of the budget) in your editorial.

I suggest in the interest of good journalism as as honesty you print a correction in the paper.

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