Focus Point - Regulating E-Commerce

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Ronald Reagan summed up the government's view of the economy this way: if it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.

So far, the government's managed to keep its hands off the new economy of the global electronic marketplace. But as the economy grows, government's urge to inject itself into the marketplace will become unbearable. If government does tax and regulate it, it won't stop, and the mountain of regulations will cripple the economy, and we will have less opportunity and productivity.

Enter the global business dialogue on electronic commerce, business leaders involved in the new economy. They're trying to establish private-sector, market-driven procedures to self-regulate e-commerce. Its creation and success are important, because government's role should be eliminating barriers to competition, not building them. I wish the group well, because their success --- with everything from security to codes of conduct -- could keep the regulators sitting on the bench. That's where they belong.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.