NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Government Prohibits Beneficial Economic Activity

December 15, 2014

If federal lawmakers really want economic growth, they should stop criminalizing economic activity, contends Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute. Across a number of sectors, the federal government prohibits valuable economic activity from taking place. She offers a few examples:

  • Oil exports have been unlawful since the 1970s. The law needs to be repealed. Exports create jobs, because foreign purchasers require more workers to produce and transport the oil. Already, over 1 million people are directly employed -- and 9 million are indirectly employed -- in the oil and gas sector.
  • The Dodd-Frank Act's Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) has the power to decide whether a business poses a threat to the U.S. economy; if so, it wields vast regulatory power over that institution and conducts proceedings behind closed doors.
  • Businesses are forced to pay federal -- and state -- minimum wage laws. This mandate only harms low-skilled workers who are priced out of the job market and lose the opportunity to gain valuable lifetime skills.
  • The Affordable Care Act renders certain insurance plans invalid, despite consumers' desire to purchase them, if they fail to carry certain services such as maternity care or substance-abuse treatment. These mandates raise the price of insurance and prevent people from purchasing the plans that they want.

Furchtgott-Roth writes that more economic activity results in a growing economy; when the government criminalizes beneficial activity, people suffer.

Source:  Diana Furchtgott- Roth, "Six Ways the Government Criminalizes Economic Activity," Economics21, December 11, 2014.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues