NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Who Will Regulate the Government?

October 7, 2011

The United States has the largest government on Earth, measured in annual government expenditures.  Our great wealth permits a hefty bulk of regulation, much like a bigger dog can have more fleas.  But the spending and regulatory burden can no longer be tolerated.  The quagmire of intricate rules and carefully tailored exceptions is making the United States an increasingly difficult and cumbersome place in which to do business, as corporations find themselves having to expend larger amounts of time, energy and money complying with numerous regulations, says Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The U.S. government justifies these regulations as symbols of progress in the fight to rein in the natural excesses of free market capitalism.  However, an enormous federal government that controls approximately a quarter of national income has equally excessive tendencies.  This state of affairs begs the question, if it is the responsibility of government to maintain oversight and check excesses of corporations, who will regulate the government?

  • Regulatory agencies have little incentive to police themselves, and the truth of this claim is evidenced by their growing body of work.
  • In 2010, regulation proliferation set a new record with 3,573 final rules in the 2010 Federal Register, and proposed rules were up by 20 percent.

Solutions to halt this negative slide are many and diverse.

  • One of the easiest is to implement an annual review of old and outdated regulations so that they do not outlive their usefulness on the books.
  • Furthermore, Congress ought to vote on all new rules, as this will allow greater oversight within the federal government and will allow the voting public to hold their elected officials accountable for their stances on frivolous regulations.

Source: Clyde Wayne Crews, "The Other National Debt Crisis," Competitive Enterprise Institute, October 4, 2011.

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