Monday, June 4, 2012

Well, Duh! - Government Regulations are Hurting the Economy

My Econ 101 professor told a joke at the beginning of the semester: If you were to lay all the world's economists end-to-end, they wouldn't reach a conclusion.


If he were alive today, I'm pretty sure he'd be amazed at just how much IQ's have dropped in the ensuing years, particularly in the area of economics. What was understood as plain fact not long ago isn't so plain any more.

Part of this is the urge by many economists to transmogrify themselves into modern-day oracles. It is in their interest that economics be viewed as some sort of mysterious art practiced by an elite few, who demand of the masses large quantities of money for advice they should already know.

Like, "Buy low, sell high."

I could go off on another tangent about how the basics of economics (along with quite a few other basics) are no longer taught in schools, but you knew that already.

Here's the simple truth: if you have a household budget, you already know everything you need to know about economics. Balancing a checkbook, managing expenses, and justifying purchases gives you all the economic principles you'll ever need. Government adds just a few zeros to their figures.

It's not rocket surgery.

Granted, there are many subsets of economics and different ways of looking at data, but it still has at its foundation some very basic principles.

In your household budget, you have overhead: rent or a house payment, utility bills, groceries, and other bills that must be paid first. Anything left over is called "disposable income." Now, let's say gasoline prices start to rise, but your wages or salary doesn't. That reduces your disposable income. How about if grocery prices begin to rise? Same thing happens: you have less money.

Now let's say that the reason for rising gasoline prices is something like, say, a government regulation that prevents domestic oil producers from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Or maybe it's not a new regulation, just a dramatic slowdown in the number of drilling permits issued. Either way, government is causing you to have less money to spend. The principle, and the result, is the same.

Let's also say that we had an entire administration that sees the whole of American enterprise (our formerly-free market) as one large area that needs to be regulated, because, well, because that's what governments are supposed to do, right?

Those inside the government think that it's their job to regulate. Witness former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's brag that the 111th Congress was the "most productive in years." As I pointed out in that post, that's nothing to brag about, not in America.

Now, let's take another look at someone who just loves regulations: Barack Obama.

...the Obama administration enacted 32 new “major” regulations – rules that carry an estimated price tag of $100 million or more. These measures stand to cost the U.S. economy $10 billion a year, along with an additional $6.6 billion in first-time implementation costs.

And that's in just one year. The principle here is that regulations cost jobs. More regulations equals more money added to the cost of doing business.

At some point, you've regulated enough. We have reached that point. Actually, we reached it a long time ago. Even some of the Economic Oracles have noticed: California governor Jerry Brown wants to cut through the environmental red tape to waste taxpayer dollars on the high-speed rail boondoggle.

And Citigroup chimes in as well: Don't Blame Wall Street for the financial crisis, blame the Community Reinvestment Act.  Yeah, when you have the government forcing you to lend to people who clearly can't afford a home loan, what could go wrong? Even Barack Obama thought it was such a good idea, he sued banks to enforce the CRA.


Government regulation = lost jobs. Got it? Good. Now, go out and find a few candidates to vote for who will begin to dismantle this dangerous Leviathan of government and regulations before it's too late.

OK, class. That's it for Economics Monday. Try to have a good day.

No comments: