Contemporary Quotes on Regulation

"The Constitution provides for certain government interventions. However, it stresses minimum intervention. Regulation, a mechanism for implementing social choices, is based on the following constitutional powers: (1) the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, (2) the power to tax and spend, (3) the power to borrow, and (4) the power to promote the general welfare.

Regulations are promulgated by agencies in response to laws passed by Congress to remedy a perceived 'market failure' or to attain a social goal. When the government regulates business it sets legally enforceable standards for conducting what are considered to be legitimate business activities. Within their range of jurisdiction, federal, state, or municipal agencies set standards by which goods and services must be produced, marketed, transported, financed, sold, or disposed of.

By legally requiring that people behave in certain ways not in their best interests in carrying out their professional tasks, regulation can distort firms' behavior and choices. By forcing the terms of exchange, regulation requires people to transfer value directly to other people. Since the terms of a regulated exchange are coerced, they are against the judgment of at least one of the participants in the transaction. The purpose of regulation is to have government intervene in order to force an exchange that would not be agreed upon in free market."

Dr. Edward W. Younkins
Liberty Free Press
April 15, 2000
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Library Topic: Regulations in America

"Government intervention into private markets produces costs and unintended consequences more harmful than the targeted problem itself. Government actions create obstacles to prosperity and economic growth. Initially, the impacts of government regulation are to increase firms' costs, slow down their decision making processes, and reduce the resources available to produce goods and services. Ultimately, it is the consumer who is at the receiving end of the repercussions generated by regulation. It is imperative to look at the effects on all groups and in the long run."

Dr. Edward W. Younkins
Liberty Free Press
April 15, 2000
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"A great deal of regulation is currently privately produced and administered by trade associations and other independent bodies. These private associations oversee members' actions through monitoring, standard-setting, product testing, inspection, warranty approval, certification, arbitration, etc. The federal government should seriously look into transferring most (if not all) regulatory functions to independent, private third parties. Including these private associations in the regulatory process will downsize and perhaps ultimately eliminate the current command-and-control system and replace it with a more responsive and adaptable process."

Dr. Edward W. Younkins
Liberty Free Press
April 15, 2000
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"When technical conditions make a monopoly the natural outcome of competitive market forces, there are only three alternatives that seem available: private monopoly, public monopoly, or public regulation. All three are bad so we must choose among evils. Henry Simons, observing public regulation of monopoly in the United States, found the results so distasteful that he concluded public monopoly would be a lesser evil. Walter Eucken, a noted German liberal, observing public monopoly in German railroads, found the results so distasteful that he concluded public regulation would be a lesser evil. Having learned from both, I reluctantly conclude that, if tolerable, private monopoly may be the least of the evils.

If society were static so that the conditions which give rise to a technical monopoly were sure to remain, I would have little confidence in this solution. In a rapidly changing society, however, the conditions making for technical monopoly frequently change and I suspect that both public regulation and public monopoly are likely to be less responsive to such changes in conditions, to be less readily capable of elimination, than private monopoly.

Railroads in the United States are an excellent example. A large degree of monopoly in railroads was perhaps inevitable on technical grounds in the nineteenth century. This was the justification for the Interstate Commerce Commission. But conditions have changed. The emergence of road and air transport has reduced the monopoly element in railroads to negligible proportions. Yet we have not eliminated the ICC. On the contrary, the ICC, which started out as an agency to protect the public from exploitation by the railroads, has become an agency to protect railroads from competition by trucks and other means of transport, and more recently even to protect existing truck companies from competition by new entrants. Similarly, in England, when the railroads were nationalized, trucking was at first brought into the state monopoly. If railroads had never been subjected to regulation in the United States, it is nearly certain that by now transportation, including railroads, would be a highly competitive industry with little or no remaining monopoly elements.

The choice between the evils of private monopoly, public monopoly, and public regulation cannot, however, be made once and for all, independently of the factual circumstances. If the technical monopoly is of a service or commodity that is regarded as essential and if its monopoly power is sizable, even the short-run effects of private unregulated monopoly may not be tolerable, and either public regulation or ownership may be a lesser evil."

Milton Friedman
University of Chicago Press
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"We must work together to give small businesses an environment in which they can thrive. Small businesses are disproportionately affected by Government regulations and paperwork, and I am committed to reducing this burden. We should regulate only where there is a real need, fully justified through rigorous cost-benefit analysis and clear legal authority. And when Government must regulate, it must adopt commonsense approaches. Regulations work best when agencies anticipate and analyze the effects of their proposals on small firms. Rules need to reflect the ability of small businesses to comply."

President George W. Bush
The American Presidency Project
November 19, 2002
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"However, the most important 'reform' would be the willingness to say no. Not every problem is worth regulating. Some cannot be solved by regulating. And many are not worth the expense of doing so. Besides, the free market is the most powerful 'regulator' of all."

Doug Bandow
The Freeman, Volume 53, Issue 6
Foundation for Economic Education
June 2003
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"All forms of government regulation of business, in fact, penalize efficient competitors and grant monopolistic privileges to the inefficient."

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"The fact that the government must give permission for the use of its streets has been cited to justify stringent government regulations of 'public utilities,' many of which (like water or electric companies) must make use of the streets. The regulations are then treated as a voluntary quid pro quo. But to do so overlooks the fact that governmental ownership of the streets is itself a permanent act of intervention. Regulation of public utilities or of any other industry discourages investment in these industries, thereby depriving consumers of the best satisfaction of their wants. For it distorts the resource allocations of the free market. Prices set below the free market create an artificial shortage of the utility service; prices set above those determined by the free market impose restrictions and a monopoly price on the consumers. Guaranteed rates of return exempt the utility from the free play of market forces and impose burdens on the consumers by distorting market allocations." 

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“The view that now pervades much public policy economics implicitly presents the relevant choice as between an ideal norm and an existing ‘imperfect’ institutional arrangement. This nirvana approach differs considerably from a comparative institution approach in which the relevant choice is between alternative real institutional arrangements.”

Harold Demsetz
The Freeman, Vol. 59
Foundation for Economic Education
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"Taken together, we are proposing the most ambitious overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression. But I want to emphasise that these reforms are rooted in a simple principle: we ought to set clear rules of the road that promote transparency and accountability. That's how we'll make certain that markets foster responsibility, not recklessness, and reward those who compete honestly and vigorously within the system, instead of those who try to game the system.

First, we're proposing new rules to protect consumers and a new consumer financial protection agency to enforce those rules. This crisis was not just the result of decisions made by the mightiest of financial firms. It was also the result of decisions made by ordinary Americans to open credit cards and take on mortgages. And while there were many who took out loans they knew they couldn't afford, there were also millions of Americans who signed contracts they didn't fully understand offered by lenders who didn't always tell the truth."

Barack Obama
The Guardian
September 14, 2009
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"This is in part because there is no single agency charged with making sure it doesn't happen. That is what we'll change. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency will have the power to ensure that consumers get information that is clear and concise, and to prevent the worst kinds of abuses. Consumers shouldn't have to worry about loan contracts designed to be unintelligible, hidden fees attached to their mortgages, and financial penalties whether through a credit card or debit card that appear without warning on their statements. And responsible lenders, including community banks, doing the right thing shouldn't have to worry about ruinous competition from unregulated competitors.

Now there are those who are suggesting that somehow this will restrict the choices available to consumers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The lack of clear rules in the past meant we had innovation of the wrong kind: the firm that could make its products look best by doing the best job of hiding the real costs won. For example, we had 'teaser' rates on credit cards and mortgages that lured people in and then surprised them with big rate increases. By setting ground rules, we'll increase the kind of competition that actually provides people better and greater choices, as companies compete to offer the best product, not the one that's most complex or confusing.

Second, we've got to close the loopholes that were at the heart of the crisis. Where there were gaps in the rules, regulators lacked the authority to take action. Where there were overlaps, regulators often lacked accountability for inaction. These weaknesses in oversight engendered systematic, and systemic, abuse.

Under existing rules, some companies can actually shop for the regulator of their choice - and others, like hedge funds, can operate outside of the regulatory system altogether."

Barack Obama
The Guardian
September 14, 2009
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"Regulators are fallible human beings whose knowledge of the present and ability to predict the future–including the future consequences of their actions–are seriously limited. The future is and will always be unpredictable. One might wonder whence even dedicated public servants are to come up with such 'accurate assessments' when such assessments depend on events beyond their ability to foresee. Why should they do better than the market in this respect? After all, it is not even their own money they are regulating."

Peter Lewin
The Freeman, Volume 59
Foundation for Economic Education
October 2009
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"Successful regulation is rare. Market successes, on the other hand, are abundant. Bubbles may be unavoidable, but in the absence of clumsy government pushing and shoving, they are likely to be small, short-lived, and confined in scope. The housing monster-balloon is a creature of the most egregious regulation. How can we expect more regulation to be the solution?"

Peter Lewin
The Freeman, Volume 59
Foundation for Economic Education
October 2009
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"In recent months, I've spoken about the dangers of too much—I've heard people speaking about the dangers of too much Government regulation. And I think we can all acknowledge there have been times in history when the Government has overreached. But in this instance, the oil industry's cozy and sometimes corrupt relationship with Government regulators meant little or no regulation at all.

When Secretary Salazar took office, he found a Minerals and Management Service that had been plagued by corruption for years. This was the agency charged with not only providing permits but also enforcing laws governing oil drilling. And the corruption was underscored by a recent Inspector General's report that covered activity which occurred prior to 2007, a report that can only be described as appalling. And Secretary Salazar immediately took steps to clean up that corruption. But this oil spill has made clear that more reforms are needed.

For years, there's been a scandalously close relationship between oil companies and the agency that regulates them. That's why we've decided to separate the people who permit the drilling from those who regulate and ensure the safety of the drilling."

President Barack Obama
The American Presidency Project
May 27, 2010
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"Between the current financial mess and the debate over carbon dioxide emissions controls, there is a lot of talk about regulation these days. We are told, for example, that the recession would have been prevented if proper regulations had been in place. While it is true that (by definition) the 'right' regulations would have prevented bad and ensured good, it is also true that had an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent dictator been in charge, the recession would have been avoided as well. The problem, of course, is that God didn’t run for president during the last election.

Enacting the right regulations is somewhat simpler than electing an omni-everything being to run the world—but not by much. As evidence, consider all the bad regulations that got us into this mess in the first place. Also consider the oft-heard argument that financial regulators needed to 'get out ahead of the innovators.' Clearly, a job for the omniscient. There is, after all, a reason why the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk preceded the establishment of the Federal Aviation Administration."

Robert L. Bradley Jr.
Richard W. Fulmer
The Freeman, Vol. 60
Foundation for Economic Education
September 2010
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"In a perfect world, Congress would simply stop passing laws that contain countless federal mandates and unchecked rulemaking authority. Absent this utopian reality, a better approach would focus 'upstream,' allowing Congress to restrict administrative agencies before giving them rulemaking authority during the legislative process. This could yield fewer and less costly regulations and, unlike the legislative veto, it would be constitutional."

Ike Brannon
Sam Batkins
The Cato Institute
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"To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of Government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That's what we've done in this country for more than a century. It's why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It's why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It's why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it's why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients."

President Barack Obama
The American Presidency Project
January 25, 2011
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"Every year we are reminded how much money the government filches from us on Tax Day. However, there is no equivalent ‘Regulation Day’ to remind us the extra cost government imposes on us through pettifogging regulation."

Iain Murray
National Review Online
April 18, 2011
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"Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most Government spending and eliminate most Government regulations.

Well, I agree that we can't afford wasteful spending, and I'll work with you, with Congress, to root it out. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that do put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. That's why I ordered a review of all Government regulations. So far, we've identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years. We should have no more regulation than the health, safety, and security of the American people require. Every rule should meet that commonsense test.

But what we can't do—what I will not do—is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. We shouldn't be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe we can win that race."

President Barack Obama
The American Presidency Project
September 8, 2011
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“The current regulatory system has become a barrier to economic growth and job creation. Federal regulations cost our economy $1.75 trillion each year. Employers are rightly concerned about the costs these regulations will impose on their businesses. So they stop hiring, stop spending and start saving for a bill from Big Brother. But rather than burdening businesses with more regulations, we need to free up employers so they can create jobs for American workers. The Regulatory Accountability Act does just that. It places permanent restrictions on regulatory agencies and restores accountability by requiring openness and transparency in the regulatory process. This is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that both parties, both houses of Congress and the President should support.”

Lamar Smith
United States House of Representatives
September 22, 2011
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"[T]his administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime. And I can prove it and I could spend the next three hours giving you examples of all of us in this marketplace that are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our health care costs escalate, regulations coming from left and right."

CEO Steve Wynn
Competitive Enterprise Institute
October 2011
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"What's at stake here is nothing less than the system of public protections that has been built up over the past six decades -- the system that led to dramatic improvements in air and water quality, food and product safety, and public health. While trade associations and business lobbyists constantly complain about the government regulations that produced these outcomes, businesses have learned to adapt, the economy has expanded and innovated, and our quality of life has continued to improve. The RAA's attack on that system puts these advances at risk.

What is perhaps most disturbing is that the assault on our regulatory system is coming at a time when we have a record number of imports from foreign countries and when our domestic regulatory agencies have neither the staff nor the resources to oversee the flood of imports. We need to be strengthening our regulatory and enforcement structures, not weakening them. This cynical effort to use the anxiety the public is feeling about the economy could wreak deep and lasting damage to our regulatory system."

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"The Court has been informed by distinguished economists that the Act's Individual Mandate and Medicaid Expansion would each increase revenues to the insurance industry by about $350 billion over 10 years; that this combined figure of $700 billion is necessary to offset the approximately $700 billion in new costs to the insurance industry imposed by the Act's insurance regulations and taxes; and that the new $700-billion burden would otherwise dwarf the industry's current profit margin. ...

If that analysis is correct, the regulations and taxes will mean higher costs for insurance companies. Higher costs may mean higher premiums for consumers, despite the Act's goal of 'lower[ing] health insurance premiums.' ... Higher costs also could threaten the survival of health-insurance companies, despite the Act's goal of 'effective health insurance markets.'"

Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Anthony Kennedy
Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Samuel Alito
U.S. Supreme Court
June 28, 2012
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"The House is expected to vote this week on the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, or REINS, Act. In a landmark year for misguided, misinformed, and harmful legislation, REINS is a standout. It would require Congress to approve, via a joint resolution, any 'economically significant' regulation (otherwise known as a major rule) issued by a federal agency—within 90 days.


"A common form of the fallacy is rejection of the imperfect free (or freer) market in favor of (presumably) omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent government regulation. A 'flawed' but achievable arrangement is set against an (alleged) ideal, though it is left unestablished whether the ideal can in fact exist. The problem here should be obvious. If the ideal is not available, then the...

This article compares the current debate over "net neutrality" to regulations on American railroads at the turn of the twentieth century. The argument stresses the similarities, predicting that regulations on broadband would incur similar failures.

"There's a big difference between entrepreneurs who make a fortune in the market, and those who do so by gaming the government."

"Obama's assertions to the contrary, the 43rd president was the biggest regulator since Nixon."

California already licenses furniture upholsterers, private investigators and recreation guides. Now it wants to regulate pet groomers.

Once synonymous with opportunity and innovation, California is now firmly associated with an unfriendly business environment, largely due to heavy-handed government and overregulation.

"Fans of convenience store hot dogs will get to read how many calories are in a dog. But beer drinkers won't have to deal with the guilt.

The Obama administration Friday issued proposed rules that vendors must follow to inform customers about calorie counts of a range of foods—from a Big Mac to a brownie.

Many food sellers are exempt, and for now the new regulations, which are...

"Faced with the prospect of United Nations regulation of the Internet, the United States has yet to appoint a leader for an upcoming battle with other countries over Web management.

Less than a year from a historic treaty negotiation that will redefine international agreements on Internet management, the U.S. has yet to name someone to head up the American delegation. The absence of an...

Participating in an economic market requires an infinite amount of knowledge which one individual cannot possibly have on his own. Therefore, consumers rely on information from brand names, the internet, or magazine reviews to guide them in the market place. Additionally, the government acts as a regulator when it certifies the purchase of homes, foods, drugs, etc. Klein points out that...

"Would a farmer who put out a trough of slop be surprised if it attracted a bunch of pigs? Then why are activists who promote enlarging the size and scope of government shocked when one program after another is hijacked by corporations that find it easier to seek favors in Washington than customers in the marketplace? And, knowing that such corruption is inevitable, why do mainstream media...

If you want to pay more to take Fido to a certified groomer, go right ahead. If you want to save money, then don't. But critics are almost certainly right that a voluntary license would become a required license in pretty short order.

"The Environmental Protection Agency is offering thousands of taxpayer dollars and free publicity to whoever produces the most compelling pro-government-regulation propaganda, it announced on its website and in a YouTube video.


"In a step that officials said would save lives, the Obama administration on Friday announced new air quality standards intended to reduce the amount of soot that can be released into the air.

Environmental groups and public health advocates welcomed the move by the Environmental Protection Agency, saying it would protect millions of Americans at risk for soot-related asthma attacks,...

"Popular opinion holds that most of the credit (or blame) for the incredible growth of the federal government should go to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal. While Roosevelt certainly was a willing participant in that process, the federal government began its amazingly rapid growth well before the New Deal, and it is unlikely that it would be much smaller today even had FDR...

"Enacting the right regulations is somewhat simpler than electing an omni-everything being to run the world — but not much. As evidence, consider that it was a lot of the wrong regulations that got us into this mess in the first place. Also consider the oft-heard argument that financial regulators needed to 'get out ahead of the innovators.' Clearly, a job for the omniscient. There is,...

"The first in a series of meetings to decide concrete enforcement terms for President Obama's digital 'Privacy Bill of Rights' has just been announced for July 12, 2012, and its focus is on mobile apps.

The National Communications and Telecommunication Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce) has decided that it's time to put President Obama's Privacy Bill of Rights into practice...

"The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by the U.S. Senate December 22 and headed for President Obama's signature, aims to enhance the safety of food produced in America and imported from overseas, and to prevent food-borne illness."

"In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Paul Singer, chairman of the Manhattan Institute, suggests that 'there is an urgent need for a new global regulatory initiative' to address the causes of the worldwide financial collapse and that even those who appreciate the qualities of free markets should welcome the new and different regulations he proposes (April 3). Singer's good intentions...

"Throughout the world, governments engage in social and economic regulation of their citizens' lives. Economic regulation, in particular, has come into focus during the past decade, mainly because such regulation has been associated with falling productivity rates in many industrialized countries. But social regulation by government also is being discussed when drug abuse legislation,...

"The surge of federal economic interventions that occurred during Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency—the much-ballyhooed Great Society, whose centerpiece was the War on Poverty—differed from the four preceding surges, each of which had been sparked by war or economic depression. No national emergency prevailed when Johnson took office following John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963...

"Ordinary people — not just a small fringe group of zealots — are really afraid today. They see the country they adore being attacked at all levels; they see their freedoms under assault, their life savings genuinely in jeopardy, an endlessly anemic economy, a longer period of sustained unemployment than we've experienced in a half-century and a national financial crisis, born of world-...

"In line with its previous commitments to balanced nutrition, the Los Angeles school board voted Tuesday to implement one of the largest and most comprehensive food procurement polices of any school district."

"New Yorkers have been in the throes of sticker shock since this spring when the Big Apple became the first city in the country to implement a law forcing chain restaurants to post the calorie count of each food in the same size and font as the price.

Restaurants have not exhausted their legal challenges, but the city will start fining violators up to $2,000 beginning Friday, say...

"Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor plan for the House to pass this summer a bill that would require Congress to approve or disapprove major agency regulations. For elected lawmakers to be accountable for the laws coming from agencies sounds revolutionary-- that is, until one recalls that the American revolutionaries opposed regulation without representation as much as...

"If New York City bans big sodas, what's next on the list? Large slices of pizza? Double-scoop ice cream cones? Tubs of movie-theater popcorn? The 16-ounce strip steak?

The proposed crackdown on super-sized drinks could face a legal challenge from those who oppose the first-in-the-nation rule and fear the city isn't going to stop with beverages.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to...

"President Barack Obama's 'tsunami' of new government regulations looks more like a summer swell.

Obama's White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven't reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush's father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News...

"Obama's desperate protests that his anti-business rant was taken out of context are betrayed both by that very context and because they are a part of a piece — just one more component of his war against the American entrepreneurial spirit.

He would have us believe that his words 'you didn’t build that' referred to roads and bridges and not businesses.

Given his accompanying...

"Since first lady Michelle Obama made childhood obesity her signature project almost two years ago, the issue has had the kind of highly visible national leadership that it previously lacked.

But that isn't enough, say public health leaders frustrated with the slow progress in stemming America's obesity epidemic.

Something more ambitious is needed, they argue — something more...

"In Chapter 5 of The Road to Serfdom ('Planning and Democracy'), F.A. Hayek warned that the state need not directly control all or even most of the means of production to exert totalitarian control over the economic life of the nation. He cited the example of Germany where, as of 1928, 'the central and local authorities directly control the use of more than half the national income … 53...

"President Obama yesterday issued a new executive order and several other directives to help ensure that regulation is cost-effective, evidence-based, and transparent to the public. He announced his plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

This effort mirrors recommendations provided by the Center for American Progress. It also draws a useful contrast to congressional conservatives who are...

"The 2012 State of the Union Address ought to address the Mistakes of the Union when it comes to over-regulation of competitive free enterprise."

"Conservatives love to interpret the current sour public mood as rejection of the government's role in the economy. In reality, that public sentiment is primarily traceable to the poor economy and has little to do with an embrace of conservative ideological views on government."

"Getting a grip on runaway federal regulation was one of Ronald Reagan's many significant achievements as president. But media tributes since his death have scarcely mentioned President Reagan's efforts at regulatory reform."

"Regulation consists of requirements the government imposes on private firms and individuals to achieve government’s purposes. These include better and cheaper services and goods, protection of existing firms from 'unfair' (and fair) competition, cleaner water and air, and safer workplaces and products. Failure to meet regulations can result in fines, orders to cease doing certain things, or,...

Litan offers an encyclopedia entry on the basic definitions economists use when speaking of government regulation.

"Eliminating lead in children's toys. Requiring seat belts in automobiles. Reducing coal dust in mines. Preventing unsafe drugs and foods from entering the marketplace. Outlawing predatory loan rates and lending practices. If the bill deliberately mislabeled the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) had been put in place in 1960, none of these protections for the American people could have been...

"Any time government regulators try to do much more than lay out the basic rules of the game, unintended consequences and moral hazards rear their ugly heads."

"In my view, the problem is that Congress has adopted policies--in the form of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act--that have made it difficult for businesses to anticipate their future costs. Both enactments are enormously complex and require both substantial regulatory interpretation and a great number of new...

"EUROPEANS have long relied on governments to set policies to protect their privacy on the internet. America has taken a different tack, shunning detailed prescriptions for how companies should handle people's data online and letting industries regulate themselves. But on February 22nd the Obama administration signaled a shift in America's position when it laid out a series of principles that...

"The Sarbanes-Oxley Act created new standards for corporate accountability as well as new penalties for acts of wrongdoing. It changes how corporate boards and executives must interact with each other and with corporate auditors. It removes the defense of 'I wasn't aware of financial issues' from CEOs and CFOs, holding them accountable for the accuracy of financial statements. The Act...

Pet groomers would have to get a license from the state, pay fees and meet new standards under legislation introduced after a Terrier-mix allegedly was injured at a Riverside County grooming business.

This week we resume the story of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the way it has been applied in United States corporate history, specifically the case of Standard Oil. And when you're talking Standard Oil, you're talking John D. Rockefeller.

"Banning extra-large sugary sodas. Blocking fast-food restaurants in some neighborhoods. Requiring calorie counts on menus. Kicking snack foods out of public schools. Are anti-obesity campaigns crossing the line into nanny state intrusion?"

"The resolution authority provides government officials with an open checkbook to act through the troubled firm, with bondholders picking up the tab. The legislation seeks to narrow the scope of action for the FDIC in resolution by guaranteeing bondholders that they will receive as much in resolution as would have been the case under bankruptcy. Of course this still gives worrisome scope for...

"Should Congress be held accountable for the regulatory policies of the federal government? Most people would say so, and this week the House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on a bill to make Congress explicitly accountable for federal regulations. Introduced by Representative Geoff Davis (R–KY), H.R. 10, the 'Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny' (REINS) Act, would require...

"In spite of President Obama's recent championing of regulatory reform, the expansion of the federal regulatory state continues apace. Operating increasingly as a fourth branch of government, the expanding authority of executive agencies undermines accountable, constitutional government. In late August, the President hailed ... the completion of his agencies' plans to reduce regulatory burdens...

"Government seems to grow constantly bigger and ever more intrusive in our lives.

Modern history reads like a tale of interventionism run amuck. ... Before World War II, it was widely believed that government had no business interfering with the private economy in the absence of dire necessity; after the war, Americans generally assumed that government interference was the rule rather...

"The original bureaucracy of the federal government consisted only of employees from three small departments — State, Treasury, and War. The executive branch employs today almost three million people. Not only have the numbers of bureaucrats grown, but also the methods and standards for hiring and promoting people have changed dramatically."

"As we approach the bicentennial of the ratification of the Constitution, Americans face what many regard as a constitutional crisis. A resolution calling for a constitutional convention to limit the spending powers of government has been approved by thirty-one out of a required thirty-four states. Over two hundred other constitutional amendments, many of them dealing with economic issues,...

"The 2012 presidential election is likely to revolve around the economy. Barack Obama hopes for an accelerating recovery, but if one comes it won't be due to his efforts: far higher expenditures, vastly bigger debts, new and increased taxes and more expensive and intrusive regulations. His principal hope is comparing his performance with his predecessor's disastrous record of unnecessary war...

"'Net neutrality' sounds nice, but the Web is working fine now. The new rules will inhibit investment, deter innovation and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers."

"The Senate's Food Safety Modernization Act, prematurely announced as a done deal a week ago, is stalled again — or 'doomed,' if you go by some news outlets. In any case, it's in trouble. The Senate bill contains provisions for fees that could technically be considered taxes, and any bill with taxes has to start in the House. Nobody seems to have thought of this, and the clock is ticking as this little technical error morphs into a 'potentially fatal' flaw. Part of the mystery lies in the fact that everybody seems to want our food to be safer — so much so that the bill had the support of both parties, a consensus that these days is as rare as plutonium. In any case, the chances of getting a newly empowered FDA to protect us from pestilence are slim. But would our food supply be that much safer if the act ends up passing? I don't think so. I think the bill is a poor one. Here's why:..."

In the ongoing war of ideas in American history, those who advocate government action as an engine of economic development have been encouraged by a general and all-too-human tendency to avoid thinking deeply.

"Although Barack Obama is the first black president of the United States, he is by no means unique, except for his complexion. He follows in the footsteps of other presidents with a similar vision, the vision at the heart of the Progressive movement that flourished a hundred years ago.

Many of the trends, problems and disasters of our time are a legacy of that era. We can only imagine...

"Since 1946, the regulatory process in the United States has been governed by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Often called the 'constitution of rulemaking,' the APA put into place the basic rules of the game for regulators, including a requirement to provide notice of proposed rules, an opportunity for the public to comment, the publication of final rules, and court review of...

Bandow questions whether or not most issues are worth regulating, especially since regulations almost always involve a sacrifice of personal liberty. He urges policy makers to simply say "no" to the temptation of regulation.

"We need some regulation. Even the most bombastic conservatives recognize this. So everyone also should recognize that when President Obama says the GOP favors 'dirtier air [and] dirtier water,' he is committing the fallacy of the false alternative. The political dispute is not whether to regulate, but how much."

"Nearly 18 months after passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, a landmark piece of legislation that granted new powers and authority to the FDA, the legislation is still mired in congressional debates over how to fund it. If this status update sounds familliar, it's with good reason. The FSMA found itself in a similar place six months ago and a year ago."

Therefore, regulations that improve a nation's national defense are sometimes supported by Adam Smith despite any financial harm that can result.

"The fact is that federal regulations (never mind state and local) cost even more than the skyrocketing federal budget deficit, and help bring the federal government’s share of the economy to over 35 percent."

"Government regulators from 193 countries are in Dubai to revise a wide-ranging communications treaty."

"Let's pretend that we have the political guts to expand economic opportunities for people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. What vested interests should be attacked, and what economic regulations should be targeted for elimination?"

The author points out that big industry often supports regulations to drive smaller competitors out of the market.

"Regulation has become a hot topic in recent weeks. There have been executive orders to reform them, hearings to scrutinize them and budgets to defund them. But in all these forums, one side of the balance sheet is often absent -- the fact that regulations create significant economic benefits."

"The Chicago School of economics favored and still favors the theory of 'regulatory capture.' Under this theory, an industry or some portions of an industry cultivate government to obtain laws and rules that favor the industry.

The government trades favors for what it wants. Politicians gain political contributions, side payments, and votes for being seen to control the industry. The...

"But one thing we tend to forget in this age of Reagan is the importance and virtues of a dedicated bureaucracy: when you have professional government agencies with a job to do, and treat them with respect, that job often gets done."

"Libertarians don’t want the regulations that liberals do and saying that ‘markets’ help the poor doesn’t help us resolve this issue. Fair enough. So why might libertarians, and bleeding heart ones at that, argue that markets should be free of government regulations?

The short answer, which I will assert here and defend below, is that whatever the intent behind government regulation...

Chart or Graph

"Figure 1 breaks down the regulatory cost estimate by categories: economic, environmental, tax compliance, and workplace."

"Regulatory costs now easily exceed the cost of individual income taxes and vastly exceed revenue from corporate taxes."

"Figure 1 shows the real increase in regulatory spending by full presidential term between 1960 and 2009."

"Figure 5 shows the budget for each regulatory agency per full-time employee as reported by the Office at Management and Budget (OMB)."

"Figure 6 illustrates how pages in the Federal Register have increased during national wars."

Household Budget Contains $14,768 in Regulatory “Hidden Tax.”

"Globally, more efficient regulatory processes often go hand in hand with stronger legal institutions and property rights protections."

"More people almost always say there is too much or about the right amount of regulation than say there is too little."

"... George W. Bush Administration adopted 28 major regulations in its first three years, barely a quarter of the 106 imposed by the Obama Administration during its first three years."

"Of the 2,576 pending rulemakings in the fall 2011 agenda, 133 are classified as 'economically significant.'"

"Yet another way of looking at Federal Register trends is pages per decade (see Figure 8). During the 1990s, the total number of Federal Register pages published was 622,368, whereas the total number published during the 1980s was 529,223."

At the end of 2012, the Federal Register weighed in at 78,961 pages.

Figure 2 illustrates how small firms are hardest hit by regulatory compliance costs.

"The public’s equivocation about regulation is nicely summed up by the Pew question shown below."

"As Figure 3 shows, regulatory costs now tower over the estimated 2010 individual income taxes of $936 billion (individual income tax receipts have fallen substantially in the economic downturn)."

"Figure 4 shows that U.S. regulatory costs surpass the entire 2011 gross domestic product of Mexico and Canada...."

"Figure 3 shows the real dollar increase in social and economic regulatory spending by presidential term between 1960 and 2009."

"Globally, more efficient regulatory processes often go hand in hand with stronger legal institutions and property rights protections."

"Figure 2 shows the 10 largest annual percentage increases in total real regulatory outlays in the last 50 years."

"Table 1 provides some perspective on the regulatory 'tax' by presenting summary data for selected topics described within Ten Thousand Commandments. Trends over the past few years are provided where information is available."

An overview chart of the regulatory state in the United States.

"Figure 4 shows that U.S. regulatory costs surpassed the entire 2009 gross national incomes of Mexico and Canada, which stood at $962 trillion and $1.416 trillion, respectively."

Faith in the free market is at a low in the world's biggest free-market economy.

Analysis Report White Paper

An overview of the costs and scope of the regulatory state, such as its estimated size compared with federal budgetary components and the gross national product.

Based on a variety of empirical indicators of regulation, we suggest that regulation has grown over the last 100 years, but less rapidly than tax revenues. Regulation grew more slowly during the 1980's and, according to some measures, declined. We suggest that the long term regulatory and budgetary trends are consistent with growth in the political power of those subsidized – especially the elderly.

This paper investigates the design of administrative procedures when policy consequences are uncertain. In general, when deciding how much discretion to delegate, legislators must trade off informational gains from agency expertise and distributive losses from bureaucratic drift.

"From 1906 to 1911, antitrust authorities prosecuted Standard Oil, a case that culminated with John D. Rockefeller's company being forcibly broken up into several smaller businesses."

Moves to enhance and expand regulation almost invariably follow financial disasters. Losses trigger calls for government action, especially when fraud is suspected. Not only policymakers, but also the media and the wider public see regulation as the natural remedy, perhaps because people tend to view financial debacles through the metaphor of misbehaving children in need of adult supervision.

Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies and ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders. This year’s report data cover regulations measured from June 2010 through May 2011.

An entrepreneur in the marketplace has to satisfy his customers, because they have to voluntarily give him their money in exchange for his goods or services.

The extraordinary financial collapse of recent months has been commonly described as a testament to the failure of deregulation. The events are indeed testament to a failure—a failure of public policy. Blaming deregulation is misleading.

America was founded on the basis of an explicit philosophy of individual rights. The Founding Fathers held the view that government, while deriving from the consent of the governed, must be limited by the rights of the individual. The purpose of government was to maintain a framework within which individuals can pursue their own self-interest, controlled by the competitive marketplace.

The Regulatory Accountability Act (S. 1606/H.R. 3010) will grind to a halt the rulemaking process at the core of implementing the nation's public health, workplace safety, and environmental standards. This bill will not improve the federal regulatory process; it will cripple it. Rules that somehow make it through the RAA's process would tilt against the public interest and in favor of powerful special interests.

Crisis and Leviathan is indeed the theme of this essay. Inspired by the scale of post-9/11 actions taken by government and the fact that this national crisis is the first to emerge since Higgs' book, we seek to do three things. First, we will describe the mood change that affected public opinion about government.

In 2004 Logan, Utah, saw the opportunity to place a turbine within the city’s culinary water system. The turbine would reduce excess water pressure and would generate clean, low-cost electricity for the city’s residents. Federal funding was available, and the city qualified for a grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

We analyze the financial crisis of 2007-2009 through the lens of market failures and regulatory failures. We present a case that there were four primary failures contributing to the crisis....

"An 'upstream' approach to reform would reassert congressional authority, saving jobs and lowering compliance costs."

As the title implies, this piece gives a brief overview of Friedrich Hayek's economic principles and then relates them to the regulations imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"In this chapter, I review the literature on public utilities."

During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans. This is almost four times the number—and more than five times the cost—of the major regulations issued by George W. Bush during his first three years.

"In this report, five ex-regulators discuss their experiences and reflect on the successes and failures of the regulatory framework that followed the privatizations of the 1980s and 1990s. Regulation expert Tim Ambler concludes by discussing the future of regulation, and outlining the different paths that may be taken to reform the sector."

This article examines whether the regulatory reforms of the Reagan presidency are likely to be retained or even extended in the 1990s or, alternatively, whether regulatory reform reached its apex under Reagan and is likely to be reversed in the next few years. Recent congress enacted very little legislation pertaining to regulation, numerous bills were introduced to undo previous reforms.

Regulations, also called administrative laws or rules, are the primary vehicles by which the federal government implements laws and agency objectives. They are specific standards or instructions concerning what individuals, businesses, and other organizations can or cannot do.

"This article will provide background on the RFA [Regulation Flexibility Act], explain the requirements of the RFA, explore the impact of judicial review on the RFA, and provide some guidance on how the RFA reduces regulatory burdens which results in cost savings for small entities."

An overview of the costs and scope of the regulatory state, such as its estimated size compared with the federal budget and the gross national product (GNP).

The scope of federal government spending and deficits is sobering. Yet the government’s reach extends well beyond the taxes Washington collects and its deficit spending and borrowing. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions—perhaps trillions—of dollars every year over and above the costs of the official federal outlays that dominate the policy debate.

Economics 101 explains how and why firms generally pass along to consumers the costs of some taxes. Likewise, some regulatory compliance costs that businesses face will find their way into the prices consumers pay. Precise regulatory costs can never be fully known, because, unlike taxes, they are unbudgeted and often indirect.

Many consumers make poor financial choices and older adults are particularly vulnerable to such errors. About half of the population between ages 80 and 89 either has dementia or a medical diagnosis of "cognitive impairment without dementia." We study lifecycle patterns in financial mistakes using a proprietary database that measures ten different types of credit behavior.

The best purpose for government is to maintain the rule of law—to preserve and defend those conditions which allow individuals and families to pursue lives of freedom and virtue.

Like previous years, the budget requested by the president in his FY 2009 Budget of the United States to run federal regulatory agencies and its staff increased significantly. Tracking the expenditures of federal regulatory agencies and the trends in regulatory spending over time helps analysts monitor one aspect of the cost of regulations: the direct cost to regulate the economy and taxpayers' lives.

Regulation is regarded as government’s impartial tool for checking the excesses of the free market. But what if it is government that helps create those excesses? What if it were the case that federal government accounts for fully a quarter of national income, overwhelmingly beyond that of any industry or sector Washington presumes to impartially regulate? What, then, keeps that vast government in check?

The U.S. administrative state has been involved in a decades-long regulatory reform project encompassing both a shift away from what have been characterized as 'command-and-control' approaches to regulation and toward approaches that are more market-oriented, managerial, participatory and self-regulatory in their orientation.

The pendulum of public opinion on regulation swings back and forth, often in relation to news events that capture the public's attention, but on the whole, Americans are wary of too much regulation and believe that government intervention should protect the free-enterprise system.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which marked its twenty-fifth anniversary in September 2005, was designed to 'level the playing field' for small businesses competing against larger, more sophisticated, and more politically powerful businesses.

This paper examines one particular aspect of the 'net neutrality' proposals: 'non-discrimination' requirements relating to the provision of network quality of service (QoS) to content providers.

From the earliest times, from the very inception of organized government, rulers and their officials have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to 'control' their economies. The notion that there is a 'just' or 'fair' price for a certain commodity, a price which can and ought to be enforced by government, is apparently coterminous with civilization.

The triumph of the administrative state has been made possible by the emasculation of the legislative power. Washington’s problem is not merely federal spending and debt; it is the arrogance of centralized power. The time is therefore ripe for a major national discussion not only about the size of government, but also about the processes of government.

The REINS Act's most ardent supporters and defenders assume that the act would stem the flow of federal regulation from the nation's capital, but is this so? A more measured look at the act suggests that it could enhance regulatory accountability and popular input on major regulatory proposals. Less clear is whether the legislation would prove to be much of an obstacle to additional regulatory initiatives or reforms.


This presentation discusses the connection and differences between the private, charitable giving in the early days of America and the governmental welfare regulation we have today.

"As the Internet increasingly drives global commerce and social connectedness, the debate about government's role in Internet governance and regulation intensifies. Proponents of Internet self-governance argue that market forces and self-regulation can go a long way toward ensuring order and standards of good behavior. Advocates for government intervention believe the Internet requires more...

"In this week's Heritage in Focus podcast, James Gattuso discusses the 2012 edition of Red Tape Rising, The Heritage Foundation's report on government regulation."

"On December 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 3010) which would amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and create new federal rulemaking requirements. How might this legislation affect the rulemaking requirements of existing executive orders and more broadly the federal rulemaking process? On this previously recorded conference...

"The environmental agenda has been infected by extremism—it's become an economic suicide pact. And we're here to challenge it."

This video looks at the potential threats the country faces from cyber warfare and terrorism. According to the panelists, these threats are dealt with better through the private sector rather than through the government regulatory system.

"Lots of books examine the military history of World War II. In this new book, Burt Folsom and Anita Folsom, authors of New Deal or Raw Deal?, look at some of the domestic aspects of the war. Taxes and spending soared — along with government propaganda for taxes — laying the groundwork for a permanently larger government. History books tell us the war ended the Depression. But the...

"Government regulations have the power to spur innovation or inhibit economic growth, says Michael Greenstone, director of the Hamilton Project at Brookings. The key, he says, is to find the right balance between the costs of regulation to business and the benefits to the public in health, safety and security. Moreover, Greenstone recommends more rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of...

"The Moritz Federalist Society is proud to host Author Tim Carney as he debates Professor Peter Swire on the topic of 'Are Government Regulations or Free Markets the Better Solution to America's Energy and Environmental Problems?' as part of the John Templeton Foundation's The Rule of Law and Wealth Creation debate series."


"Former BB&T Chairman and CEO John A. Allison discusses how mandates like Sarbanes Oxley and the Patriot Act helped cause the housing meltdown and financial crisis. He spoke at the Cato Institute's 29th Annual Monetary Conference held November 16th, 2011."

Milton Friedman explains why the FDA--and government regulations in general--are unnecessary regulations that don't necessarily increase safety but definitely increase consumer costs.

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has set forth an individual mandate that requires all Americans to have health insurance. The justification for the law rests on the idea developed since the New Deal in the 1930s that any economic activity an individual engages in could impact the national economy and therefore can be regulated by the Federal Government based on its...

"Prof. Lynne Kiesling discusses the history of regulating electricity monopolies in America."

"Before considering government regulation of monopolies, Prof. Lynne Kiesling encourages us to think about the regulation that markets naturally provide. In any market, in the absence of government interference, each business is constrained by the following:

1)Consumer demand
2)The availability of substitutes
3)The entry, or threat of entry, of new firms


"A cartoon adaptation of F.A. Hayek's classic treatise on the dangers of government intervention into the economy."

"Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute for Individual Rights sees a troubling pattern of expanding government that causes great injury to individual rights and the ability of our economy to produce products and services that people want. In addition, the damage done by the Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory schemes has caused immeasurable damage to America and its markets. Companies are...

Primary Document

"In accordance with the Regulatory-Right-to-Know Act, ... the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prepared this draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations (Report). This is the fourteenth annual Report since OMB began issuing this Report in 1997. The Report summarizes estimates by Federal regulatory agencies of the quantified and monetized benefits and costs of...

James J. Hill was a great businessman and amassed the immense fortune typical for an early 20th century robber baron. As the title suggests, this book compiles his many speeches.

Adopted after the Roosevelt era, the APA broadly establishes how federal administrative agencies may propose and oversee regulations.

The Act established the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, which regulated the following commodities: wheat, cotton, field corn, hogs, rice, tobacco, and milk.

This economic classic is noted for providing us with terms for and expositions of such key economic ideas as the division of labor, "invisible hand," self-interest as a beneficial force, and freedom of trade.

"Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans: Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless and a political crisis that's made things worse.

This past week, reporters have been asking, 'What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress?...

The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight more than two centuries later, it's because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our Union is strong.

"So I just want to, first of all, thank all of you for participating. Today was the first discussion in this effort, but it was not the last. In the coming days and weeks, we'll be convening a series of meetings with senior administration officials here at the White House to further explore some of the key issues that were raised today and to bring more voices into the conversation."

"Good afternoon, everybody. Before I take your questions, I want to update the American people on the status of the BP oil spill, a catastrophe that is causing tremendous hardship in the Gulf Coast, damaging a precious ecosystem, and one that led to the death of 11 workers who lost their lives in the initial explosion."

This press release contains quotes by U.S. representatives in support of the proposed Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011.

"Years without accountability for Wall Street and big banks brought us the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the loss of 8 million jobs, failed businesses, a drop in housing prices, and wiped out personal savings.

The failures that led to this crisis require bold action. We must restore responsibility and accountability in our financial system to give Americans...

"The main issue in present-day social and political conflicts is whether or not man should give away freedom, private initiative, and individual responsibility and surrender to the guardianship of a gigantic apparatus of compulsion and coercion, the socialist state. Should authoritarian totalitarianism be substituted for individualism and democracy? Should the citizen be transformed into a...

"No American coming to Philadelphia on this anniversary could escape being thrilled at the thought of what this commemoration means. It brings to mind events, which in the course of the century and a half that has passed since the day we are celebrating, have changed the course of human history. Then was formed the ideal of the American nation. Two years later this was put into practical...

"For almost a century and a half the Fourth of July has been marked as Independence Day. It has been given over to the contemplation of those principles and those institutions which America peculiarly represents. In times gone by the exuberance of youth and the consciousness of power recently gained has often made it an occasion for boastfulness. Long orations have been made, which consisted...

"In reporting to the Congress the state of the Union, I find it impossible to characterize it other than one of general peace and prosperity. In some quarters our diplomacy is vexed with difficult and as yet unsolved problems, but nowhere are we met with armed conflict. If some occupations and areas are not flourishing, in none does there remain any acute chronic depression. What the country...

"George Reisman was a student of Mises's, a translator of his work, and, as he demonstrates in this outstanding treatise, a leading theorist in the Misesian tradition. This mammoth exposition deals with the method and theory of economics, and particularly excels in its application to matters of policy. Its sections on price controls, money, banking, and environmentalism apply Misesian theory...

Augustine's response argued that the "City of God" was not an earthly kingdom to be achieved through Roman power. While Christians have a responsibility to the City of Man, he argued, it cannot achieve perfection. Consequently, he argued for a strongly Christian culture, but full realization of the limits of what can be accomplished with temporal power.

Passed in an effort to continue where its predecessor, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, had left off, the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914 formally allowed unions to exist. It finally removed unions from the list of forbidden combinations allowable in industry. It also legalized the use of peaceful strikes, picketing, and boycotts.

Updated in May of 2010, this document contains the full text of the health care law popularly known as Obamacare and signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Barack Obama.

In this piece, Alexander Hamilton discusses the concept of trade regulation. Hamilton argues that the power to regulate trade should be held by Congress and the federal government. This treatise was written before the Constitution was adopted as the supreme law of the land, so it provides some historical insight into the arguments used by supporters of a federal...

Tocqueville's famous analysis of the American economic and political system, as he observed during his travels of the country in the 1830s.

"I here present the public with a new performance. Some parts of it are more particularly adapted to the state of Pennsylvania, on the present state of its affairs: but there are others which are on a larger scale. The time bestowed on this work has not been long, the whole of it being written and printed during the short recess of the assembly."

"This is comprehensive legislation to overhaul regulations in the financial sector. It would establish a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to regulate products like home mortgages, car loans and credit cards, give the Treasury Department new authority to place non-bank financial firms, like insurance companies into receivership, regulate the over-the-counter...

"Economic Freedom and Interventionism is both a primer of the fundamental thought of Ludwig von Mises and an anthology of the writings of perhaps the best-known exponent of what is now known as the Austrian School of economics. This volume contains forty-seven articles edited by Mises scholar Bettina Bien Greaves. Among them are Mises’s expositions of the role of government, his discussion of...

Henry Hazlitt's classic primer outlines a straightforward and accessible portrayal of free-market economics. An unshackled market, Hazlitt says, is the only path to "full production".

"Vol. 5 of the 33 vol. Collected Works contains a number of Mill’s essays on economic topics, including the Chapters on Socialism."

"AN ACT To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of the food supply."

"I address you, the Members of the Seventy-seventh Congress, at a moment unprecedented in the history of the Union. I use the word 'unprecedented,' because at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today."

"This Nation in the past two years has become an active partner in the world's greatest war against human slavery.

We have joined with like-minded people in order to defend ourselves in a world that has been gravely threatened with gangster rule.

But I do not think that any of us Americans can be content with mere survival. Sacrifices that we and our allies are making impose upon...

At the start of his term, President Obama calls for strong banking regulation to counter the financial crisis.

"As you know, excessive regulation and red tape have imposed an enormous burden on our economy -- a hidden tax on the average American household in the form of higher prices for goods and services. Just as Americans have the right to expect their government to spend tax dollars wisely, they have the right to expect cost-effective and minimally burdensome regulation. Although the Congress has...

"We must work together to give small businesses an environment in which they can thrive. Small businesses are disproportionately affected by Government regulations and paperwork, and I am committed to reducing this burden. We should regulate only where there is a real need, fully justified through rigorous cost-benefit analysis and clear legal authority. And when Government must regulate, it...

"Every administration--at least in my 20-some years in Washington--faces an agenda of very pressing issues, calling in each instance for immediate action.

In 1975 these issues are: number one, America's role in the world; number two, the reestablishment of our economic health; and number three, the creation of a new and long-range policy on energy."

Gibbons v. Ogden is considered a landmark supreme court case on the issue of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Aaron Ogden was given an exclusive license to operate a shipping business within the State of New York. He sued a man named Thomas Gibbons, who ran a competing shipping business between New Jersey and New York City, claiming that Gibbon's operations in the...

"Subsequently the purchasing of Good Food is a vital component to providing the nutritional needs of all children in the LAUSD."

In this paper, I want to outline the principles underlying the modern theory of regulation.

In this message, President Grover Cleveland addresses the issue of trusts and monopolies often related to the Robber Barons.

House Proposal "To provide that no agency may take any significant regulatory action until the unemployment rate is equal to or less than 6.0 percent."

"When the invitation was extended to me by the committee of the Gridiron Club, one of its members stated that the club intended to make a strong effort to shorten and sharpen its program. There was then silence. Feeling that something was required to restore the conversation and not being entirely insensible to such subtle approach, I responded with an assurance that I would do my part in...

"Approved on February 4, 1887, the Interstate Commerce Act created an Interstate Commerce Commission to oversee the conduct of the railroad industry. With this act, the railroads became the first industry subject to Federal regulation."

Jefferson argues against the creation of a national bank on the grounds that it is not one of the delegated powers given to Congress under the Constitution.

"I am today announcing a program of major reforms in the regulatory process, including both legislative and executive action. This program will make new regulations more efficient and effective; ensure reviews of existing regulatory laws and individual rules to eliminate or revise those that are outmoded; and reduce the burden of regulation and paperwork without jeopardizing our progress...

"Two days ago, I was favored with your polite and elegant letter of January 22d. I have received so many of your letters, within a few months, containing such important matters, in so masterly a style, that I am ashamed to confess that I have answered but one of them, and that only with a few lines. I beg you would not impute this omission to inattention, negligence, or want of regard, but to...

"It is well to remind ourselves from time to time of the benefits we derive from the maintenance of a free market system. The system rests on freedom of consumer choice, the profit motive, and vigorous competition for the buyer's dollar. By relying on these spontaneous economic forces, we secure these benefits:

(a) Our system tends automatically to produce the kinds of goods that...

Man, Economy and the State provides a sweeping presentation of Austrian economic theory, a reconstruction of many aspects of that theory, a rigorous criticism of alternative schools, and an inspiring look at a science of liberty that concerns nearly everything and should concern everyone.

The U.S. Supreme Court's highly anticipated decision which upheld the Affordable Care Act.

The National Industrial Recovery Act of June 16, 1933 was a forerunner of the Wagner Act. Signed by President Franklin Roosevelt, the Act was implemented by the National Recovery Administration and the Public Works Administration until it was ruled unconstitutional, in part, in May of 1935.

"To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes."

John Stuart Mill was a British political philosopher and politician. In this classic essay, he argues that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.... Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."

"Nock was a prominent essayist at the height of the New Deal. In 1935, hardly any public intellectuals were making much sense at all. They pushed socialism. They pushed fascism. Everyone had a plan. Hardly anyone considered the possibility that the state was not fixing society but destroying it bit by bit."

"The purpose of this Act is to increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process. Section 1 of article I of the United States Constitution grants all legislative powers to Congress. Over time, Congress has excessively delegated its constitutional charge while failing to conduct appropriate oversight and retain accountability for the content of the laws it passes....

"To reform the process by which Federal agencies analyze and formulate new regulations and guidance documents." The bill passed in the house but did not get passed in the Senate.

"It is the purpose of this Act [enacting this chapter and provisions set out as notes under this section] to establish as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to...

"The form of Potomac fever currently reaching epidemic proportions in Washington is a deregulation bug. The President, Congress and even some of the regulatory agencies are vying to develop new regulatory programs for decreasing regulation."

"Our country depends on a strong, efficient and flexible financial system to promote sound economic growth, including the provision of adequate funds for housing. Such a system is one which allows financial institutions to adapt to the changing needs of borrowers and lenders, large and small, and is free to make full use of technological innovations."

"Only a month ago I was your guest in this historic building, and I pledged to you my cooperation in doing what is right for this Nation that we all love so much. I'm here tonight to reaffirm that pledge and to ask that we share in restoring the promise that is offered to every citizen by this, the last, best hope of man on Earth."

"An essential part of this administration's program for economic recovery is revising or eliminating Federal regulations that place needless burdens on people, businesses, and State and local governments. As we strive to control taxing and spending, we must also cut back government regulations that are anticompetitive, excessively stringent, or just plain unnecessary.


According to the opening lines of this document, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was intended to be "An Act To protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant...

"But make no mistake: The flaws in our financial system and regulatory framework that allowed this crisis to occur, and in many ways helped cause it, are still in place. We may disagree over details of how to best fix those flaws, but that cannot mean we do not act."

"The Sherman Act authorized the Federal Government to institute proceedings against trusts in order to dissolve them. Any combination 'in the form of trust or otherwise that was in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations' was declared illegal. Persons forming such combinations were subject to fines of $5,000 and a year in jail. Individuals and companies...

"I HAVE so little concern in paying or receiving of 'interest,' that were I in no more danger to be misled by inability and ignorance, than I am to be biassed by interest and inclination, I might hope to give you a very perfect and clear account of the consequences of a law to reduce interest to 4 per cent. But since you are pleased to ask my opinion, I shall endeavour fairly to state this...

"The Regulatory Accountability Act would be the first major revision of the APA’s core regulatory procedures. It is a response to the dramatic growth of regulation and unusual number of controversial regulatory proceedings of recent years."

Saint Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica. Although unfinished, it provided a foundation for many religious and secular institutions and proved very influential throughout the Middle Ages.

This portion of the Summa Theologica contains the "Treatise on Prudence and Justice."

"The people of this country continue to enjoy great prosperity. Undoubtedly there will be ebb and flow in such prosperity, and this ebb and flow will be felt more or less by all members of the community, both by the deserving and the undeserving."

An Act to Improve the Navigability and to Provide for the Flood Control of the Tennessee River: To Provide for Reforestation and the Proper Use of Marginal Lands in the Tennessee Valley; to Provide for the Agricultural and Industrial Development of Said Valley; to Provide for the National Defense by the Creation of a Corporation for the Operation of Government Properties at and Near Muscle...

"Since 1937, NSBA [National Small Business Association] has advocated on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. Reaching more than 150,000 small-business owners nationwide, NSBA serves as an umbrella group to myriad regional, state and local small-business associations and Chambers of Commerce and is proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization.

Although NSBA’s...

"The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan is a twenty-volume series published by Liberty Fund that includes ten monographs and all of the important journal articles, papers, and essays that Buchanan has produced in a distinguished career spanning more than half a century."

"In the progress of politics, as in the common occurrences of life, we are not only apt to forget the ground we have travelled over, but frequently neglect to gather up experience as we go. We expend, if I may so say, the knowledge of every day on the circumstances that produce it, and journey on in search of new matter and new refinements: but as it is pleasant and sometimes useful to look...

"In response to Hamilton's Full Vindication, the Rev. Samuel Seabury blasted back in the New York press on January 5, 1775. The 'Westchester Farmer's' A View of the Controversy between Great-Britain and her Colonies . . . (London, 1775) mocked his adversary's facile invocations of 'natural rights of mankind,' declaring that 'Man in the state of nature may be considered as perfectly...

"The author of the Notes on the State of Virginia, quoted in the last paper, has subjoined to that valuable work the draught of a constitution, which had been prepared in order to be laid before a convention, expected to be called in 1783, by the legislature, for the establishment of a constitution for that commonwealth. The plan, like every thing from the same pen, marks a turn of thinking,...

"HAVING examined the constitution of the House of Representatives, and answered such of the objections against it as seemed to merit notice, I enter next on the examination of the Senate. The heads into which this member of the government may be considered are: I. The qualification of senators; II. The appointment of them by the State legislatures; III. The equality of representation in the...

"The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia is designed to be a complete classified arrangement of the Writings of Thomas Jefferson on Government, Politics, Law, Education, Commerce, Agriculture, Manufactures, Navigation, Finance, Morals, Religious Freedom, and many other topics of permanent human interest. It contains everything of importance that Jefferson wrote on these subjects."

The Law, written by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850, was famously influenced by John Locke's Second Treatise of Government and went on to inspire Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson.

Aristotle, one of the best known Western philosophers, concluded his work on ethics with the statement that he intended to look into "the whole question of the management of a state." The Politics was his effort to do so. He examines the origin and purpose of government, and then discusses Plato's The Republic and other proposed and existing forms of government.

This volume, written in dialogue format, is the original work of political idealism by one of the best-known Western philosophers.

"In essence, the RFA asks agencies to be aware of the economic structure of the entities they regulate and the effect their regulations may have on small entities. It requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of proposed regulations when there is likely to be a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, and to consider regulatory alternatives that will...

Thomas Paine drafted this pamphlet in response to Edmund Burke's criticisms of the French Revolution.

Montesquieu was a significant advocate of separation of powers between executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and his discussion of law contributed significantly to the concept of rule of law.

The Constitution of the United States established the federal governmental system currently in place with three branches of government. The premise of executive privilege developed from the separation of powers clause.

The works of John Adams.

"I wrote you a letter yesterday, of which you will be free to make what use you please. This will contain matters not intended for the public eye. I see, as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign...

"In Butler, the Court struck down the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which taxed processors in order to pay farmers to reduce production. Although invalidating the statute, the Court adopted the Hamiltonian view (almost in passing) that the General Welfare Clause is a separate grant of congressional authority, linked to and qualified by the spending power...

After President Cleavland ordered the federal government to sue the Knight Company under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to break up the Company's perceived sugar monopoly, the Supreme Court argued that actions against the Company would have to be taken by the individual states. In other words, the Court hesitated to grant the federal government such broad power and, in effect, somewhat limited the...

"The Obama Administration today unveiled a 'Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights' as part of a comprehensive blueprint to improve consumers' privacy protections and ensure that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth. The blueprint will guide efforts to give users more control over how their personal information is used on the Internet and to help businesses maintain...

This Supreme Court case is regarded as the case that threw open the doors of federal government regulation. Whenever the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce is brought up, legal scholars and analysts point to this case, which gives Congress the authority to regulate almost anything it wants to regulate.


"I withheld from my annual message a discussion of needed legislation under the authority which Congress has to regulate commerce between the States and with foreign countries and said that I would bring this subject-matter to your attention later in the session. Accordingly, I beg to submit to you certain recommendations as to the amendments to the interstate-commerce law and certain...

"In my report 'on the state of the Union,' which I had the privilege of reading to you on the 2d of December last, I ventured to reserve for discussion at a later date the subject of additional legislation regarding the very difficult and intricate matter of trusts and monopolies."

"It is through this prism—how do we craft policies to promote greater private investment in our nation's telecommunications infrastructure—that I view all of our decisions at the FCC, including Net Neutrality. With that perspective, I believe that Net Neutrality was both the wrong policy and the wrong priority. This action also exceeded our statutory authority—establishing a national policy is...