Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has a must-read piece in the Wall Street Journal today, arguing for a one year moratorium on new regulations. She does a great job illustrating just how damaging these regulations can be:
That EPA rule on boilers is a good example of why we need a regulatory time-out. According to a recent study by the American Forest & Paper Association, if the rule went into effect as written it could, along with other pending regulations, cause 36 American pulp and paper mills to close. That would put more than 20,000 Americans out of work-18% of that industry's work force.
Once those mills close, the businesses that supply them also would be forced to lay off workers. Estimates are that nearly 90,000 Americans would lose their jobs, and wages would drop by $4 billion-just because of over-regulation.
There's one point that she doesn't make in her piece–putting a stop to these kinds of regulations doesn't cost American taxpayers a dime. Unlike all of the hundred billion dollar stimulus packages, this won't add to our debt and will actually bring it down by reducing (just a tad) government cost and increasing (perhaps considerable) government revenue. This is a "jobs" or stimulus program that everyone should get behind.
And I'd take her position a step further. A one-year regulatory time out would be a welcome breather, but why not use that time to institute new rules to govern the regulatory process? Congress should have to vote to approve rules with meaningful economic effects so that the great federal regulatory machine doesn't just rev back up as soon as the time out expires.
And Senator Collins would be doing the country a huge favor if she also offered legislation to strip away specific regulations that do no good and simply raise the costs of doing business. I'm sure there would be many, many examples, but that's one thousand-plus page bill that would be worth every line.