Focus Point - OverregulationCommentary by Pete du Pont
October 10, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. There's a simple question to ask about any regulation Washington proposes: Is its cost greater than its presumed benefit. Of course, they never ask that in Washington, despite a law on the books which says they have to ask if a proposed regulation's cost is over a certain amount. All of which is why OSHA is about to go nuts again.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration plans to issue its Ergonomics Program Standard. The plan is designed to reduce -- ready for a little bureaucratese? -- wmsds, or work-related musuloskeletal disorders. Trouble is, clear evidence its cost will far exceed its benefits.
The Employment Policy Foundation guesses first year compliance will be $130 billion, and puts continuing costs at over $90 billion. Based on OSHA's own figures, costs will exceed benefits by 15 to 1. They'll cut corporate earnings five percent per share and stifle new business starts. A single employee complaint could require employers to add new regulations indefinitely.
The nanny state is about to get nuclear weapons.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, a lack of energy.