The Unseen Effects of Regulation, Part II

To aid myself in becoming more rounded, I subscribe to multiple trade magazines that cater to those who make a living from a wide variety of industries, from law to logistics to small business. In my perusal of these magazines, one big thing sticks out to me: the number of articles in regards to compliance with regulations. As I mentioned in my first article, there are many physical products that don’t exist as a result of such regulations. However, in this article, I seek to reveal the unseen mental, rational, and commercial possibilities that could exist but don’t as a result of such deleterious, even if well-intentioned statutes.

The authors of the articles that I read in those magazines have an air of respect, even fear, for bureaucrats who are paid to write statutes that mandate or ban certain products in an innocuous legal language that could be twisted to such ends as to exact the most money from a businessman or lawyer branded a “violator”. I’ve read articles on proposed legislation in states like Illinois and Connecticut that would mandate that all firearm owners have a specific type of liability insurance, solely based on the fact that they had the temerity to own guns, a right firmly enshrined in the Constitution and multiple Supreme Court decisions. I’ve read articles in trucking magazines about how USDOT regulations make it extremely difficult to be an owner-operator.

The thoughts that run through my mind are not only those of sheer frustration about how difficult government makes people’s lives, even if the results are unintended consequences, but what that space could be devoted to otherwise. As mentioned previously, this is the unseen. Could there be different content in place of these? Could there be an advertisement in that space which would be mutually beneficial to both the publisher and the company that bought it? Could there be an article explaining a new and innovative business practice that would make the reader more efficient of a farmer, lawyer, or commercial driver? Furthermore, if the author is focusing on regulations and his column is geared towards the explanation and discussion of the implications of such laws, could they perhaps have more time to write about topics that would pertain more to the job than hindrances of it?

The frustration in this country seems to be moving slowly from apathetic mumblings to real action. The past few years have shown Americans that central planning does not work, both in terms of monetary policy and regulations, as shown by quantitative easing and healthcare reform, respectively. The American people are at the precipice and the next decade will determine the fate of the United States in the 21st century.

What the various disaffected professions served by the multitudinous publications I read need to do is take a lesson from the unions and organize. They need to collectively bargain, so to speak, at their statehouses and in the halls of Congress. For too long, the rent seekers have owned those arenas. It’s time for a change. Their livelihoods depend on it. As the working men and women who are affected time and time again by regulation make up the majority of our country, our future depends on it as well. Regulations on law only make it more difficult for me to sue for damages. Regulations on trucking only make it more difficult to transport goods from point A to point B efficiently. Egregious regulation on agriculture makes it more difficult for me to purchase food. America is known in many parts of the world for its standard of living, without which, it would not be this oasis that everyone wants to come to.

While I find it tragic that Cubans drown trying to escape oppression every year by using makeshift rafts to make it to the mainland United States, it speaks to the view that this is a land of opportunity and promise. I however don’t take this view for granted as the United States is not the exception: tyranny can and has manifested itself in the past within our borders and it is doing so once again due to the lack of the proactivity of the very people whom depend upon the opportunity and promise inherent in our land.

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