Tag Archives: overregulation

CEI Podcast for December 1, 2011: The More Numerous the Laws…

Have a listen here.

The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that “Laws were most numerous when the state was most corrupt.” Today, the U.S. Code is over 47,000 pages long. The Code of Federal Regulations runs over 165,000 pages. Matt Patterson, CEI’s 2011-12 Warren Brookes Fellow, applies Tacitus’ insight to U.S. politics and discusses what it will take for substantive reforms to become politically possible.

August 20 Is Lemonade Freedom Day

Kids have been setting up lemonade stands for as long as there has been lemonade. But in recent years, regulators have started shutting them down. Robert Fernandes, a father of two, has had enough. That’s why he has declared August 20, 2011 to be Lemonade Freedom Day.

Fernandes is encouraging kids and parents to set up lemonade stands that day without going through the permits, inspections, and fees that many towns require. For more information, visit LemonadeFreedom.org. There is also a Lemonade Freedom Day Facebook event page here.

Fernandes also links to a list of news stories about lemonade stand shutdowns. The list is disturbingly long.

That’s why on August 20, I’m going to take a stroll through my neighborhood to see if any young entrepreneurs are selling unlicensed lemonade. I encourage everyone to do the same.

This is a minor battle, as these things go. But the same obstacles to lemonade freedom apply throughout the economy. Federal regulations alone cost nearly an eighth of GDP to comply with. That sizable burden is a major reason why the economy is still struggling. Lemonade Freedom Day is one way to tell overzealous regulators to back off.

Police Shut Down Another Rogue Lemonade Stand

Abigail Krutsinger is 4 years old. She lives in Coralville, Iowa. A local tradition there is the RAGBRAI bike ride, where cyclists ride clear across Iowa. Abigail, seeing how exhausted the cyclists were when they reached Coralville, opened up a lemonade stand. It was a way to help out thirsty bikers, make a little bit of money, and learn a little something about running a business. Classic Americana.

In another display of classic Americana, police  quickly shut her down. Abigail, who is 4, never applied for a permit and a health inspection.

This is not an isolated incident. Similar crackdowns have happened in Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon, and Maryland, and New York. Will there be more?

Bipartisan Regulatory Reform

Usually, “bipartisan” means “twice as stupid.” But for real regulatory reform to happen, both parties need to be involved. President Obama’s recent executive orders requiring agencies to comb their books and repeal unneeded regulations should save a few billion dollars. But that’s just a drop in a $1.7 trillion bucket. Over at Fox Forum, I explain one bipartisan idea that could potentially save much more:

Agencies cannot be trusted to clean out their own books because they have no incentive to. Agency administrators want to maximize their
missions and budgets. Having them police themselves will not yield real savings.

There is a relatively easy fix: get independent outsiders with no stake in the outcome go through the Code of Federal Regulations make the
repeal recommendations. President Obama should appoint a bipartisan repeal commission to do just that and then send its package of repeal
proposals to Congress.

Congress, worried about backlash from interest groups with vested interests in existing rules, would have every incentive to water down
the package. To avoid that, Congress should impose on itself a requirement to have a straight up-or-down vote on the package within a
short time-say, 10 legislative days-with no amendments allowed.

Read the whole thing here.

Regulation of the Day 80: Falconry

The Code of Federal Regulations contains 12,834 words worth of rules concerning falconry, of all things. Pasted into a Microsoft Word document with 11 point font size, that’s 24 pages. On falconry.

Some of the rules are surprisingly permissive: “Your falconry facilities may be on property owned by another person where you reside, or at a different location.”

Other rules, less so: “(D) Regardless of the number of State, tribal, or territorial falconry permits you have, you may possess no more than 5 wild raptors, including golden eagles.”

Because clearly, owning six birds instead of five is a threat to public health and safety.