Editorial do WSJ
In the 1982 film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," the character Jeff Spicoli expresses the Jeffersonian thesis that American democracy required "cool rules . . . pronto," lest our polity become just as "bogus" as the British rule it replaced. Where's Spicoli when you need him in Washington?
The closest thing we have is White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, who this week delivered a progress report on Mr. Obama's January announcement that the feds were going to review and then kill unnecessary rules across the bureaucracy. Mr. Sunstein reported some anecdotal success, including the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to stop treating milk spills as "oil" spills for the purpose of regulating farms.
You read that right. It took a Presidential-level review to get the EPA to stop treating spilled milk like an oil slick. After we wrote about this folly on January 27 ("Land of Milk and Regulation"), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson assailed us at a Congressional hearing. We can only imagine the protest she put up against Mr. Sunstein.
More broadly, Mr. Sunstein reports that his review has resulted in "immediate steps to save individuals, businesses, and state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars every year in regulatory burdens."
Alas, this doesn't begin to ease the economic burden of regulation. In research sponsored by the federal Small Business Administration, Lafayette College economists Mark and Nicole Crain have estimated that Americans were spending more than $1.7 trillion annually just to comply with federal regulations—and that was before Mr. Obama took office.
The best measure of the overall regulatory burden comes from Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in his annual "Ten Thousand Commandments" scorecard. Mr. Crews recently reported that there are more than 4,000 new regulations now in the pipeline, and he notes that in 2010 the bureaucrats set an all-time record by churning out 81,405 pages in the Federal Register, where new and proposed rules are published.
In Mr. Sunstein's own 2011 report to Congress, his office admits that of the 66 new major rules that the Obama Administration imposed on Americans in 2010, the issuing executive-branch agencies calculated both costs and benefits for only 18. That's less than 30% but it's still better than so-called independent agencies like the Federal Reserve, which were a perfect 0 for 17 in failing to estimate costs as well as benefits.
And all of this comes before the hundreds of huge rule-makings still to come under the Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare laws. Dodd-Frank alone requires 243 new regulations, according to the analysts at the Davis-Polk law firm.
A recent report from the Inspector General of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) illustrates the lack of bureaucratic concern about economic harm. Dodd-Frank gave the CFTC the lead role in writing new rules for derivatives markets, and the IG examined the commission's process for measuring the impact. The IG reports a series of recent incidents in which the staff of the agency's general counsel bulldozed the CFTC's economists to minimize the cost estimates for new derivatives rules.
Wrote the IG staff, "For the four rules we reviewed, the cost-benefit analyses were drafted by Commission staff in divisions other than the Office of Chief Economist. Staff from the Office of Chief Economist did review the drafts, but their edits were not always accepted." In one case, the lawyers even insisted that the only costs they needed to count were what a company would have to spend to find out if a rule applied to it, but not the costs of actually complying with the rule.
We appreciate Mr. Sunstein's effort, but in modern Washington he's less Spicoli and more like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill.
Comentário: É mesmo uma lástima ver o que estão fazendo com os Estados Unidos, que já foi a "terra da liberdade", e cada vez mais se parece com um típico país europeu, repleto de burocracia e com um estado-babá asfixiante. Obama apenas acelerou este processo socializante por lá. Triste.