Tag Archives: reform

An Optimistic Take on the Election

CEI President and Founder Fred Smith and I have an article in The Daily Caller expressing cautious optimism about yesterday’s election results. Our main points:

-We are (cautiously) optimistic because voters turned out in droves to make a statement against big government, not to endorse GOP policies. But no reforms will happen unless people keep fighting for them.

-Activists have a lesson to learn from the Bush-era anti-war movement. Anti-Iraq War protestors vanished into thin air almost the moment President Obama was elected. They gave up. That’s one reason there are still 50,000 troops in Iraq and America’s presence in Afghanistan has doubled. The next few years will be the true test of the tea party movement. Will it grow complacent in victory?

-GOP politicians have a lesson to learn from their 1994 victory and subsequent fall from grace. The 1994 Republicans gave up as reformers after about six months. Voters kept them around because they did a tolerable job of checking Clintonian excesses. But six years of one-party rule under Bush were more than enough to show that Republicans were far more concerned with staying in power than with shrinking government. Federal spending roughly doubled under Bush, and that was enough to give them the boot.

It will be interesting to see what happens. The 2010 election might be nothing more than a blip on the radar. Or it could be the start of a genuine reform movement that will take on the coming entitlement crisis. We’re hoping for the latter.

Ideas for Regulatory Reform

Tax Freedom Day was April 9. But when you factor in the cost of regulation (on which more here), it turns out we work nearly half the year just to pay for government. Wayne Crews and I give the details, as well as some ideas for regulatory reform, over at Fox Forum. The three we give are:

-Disclosure. Each year’s federal budget, or the annual “Economic Report of the President,” should include in-depth chapters exploring the regulatory state, along the lines of Ten Thousand Commandments. The more the public and policymakers know about regulatory costs, the more likely they are to do something about them.

-Eliminate obsolete rules. Congress should task the Office of Management and Budget with identifying rules to eliminate each year. Congress should also implement its own bipartisan packages of cuts to be voted on, up or down, without amendment. Mandatory 5-year sunsets for all new rules would also help. Congress can reauthorize useful rules, while obsolete or harmful ones would automatically expire.

-Most important of all, Congress needs to reassume its lawmaking responsibilities. It passed 125 bills last year—but federal agencies passed 3,503 final rules. This “regulation without representation” should end. There is too little accountability when it comes to regulation.