This is the seventh entry in a series on how the next president can reduce the scope of bureaucracy. Earlier installments have addressed a freeze on rulemaking, the role of law and economics staff in policymaking, rule review and repeal, stricter cost analysis, dissecting regulatory dark matter, and boosting Unified Agenda disclosure.
Part 7: Track the Accumulation of Federal Regulations as Businesses Sectors Grow
The observation that there’s no free lunch may hold particularly for the small businessperson. The “Small Business Anthem,” heard on the Small Business Advocate radio program, goes in part:
Even though you make payroll every Friday,
You don’t have a guaranteed paycheck.
You’re a small business owner, and you eat what you kill.
For perspective on the small-business regulatory climate, the list below of “Federal Workplace Regulation Affecting Growing Businesses” depicts non-sector-specific laws and regulations that businesses confront as they grow. This list is far from exhaustive since it assumes non-union, non-government contractor firms with interstate operations and a basic employee benefits package. Also, only general workforce-related regulation is included. In this simple list, specific sectoral categories are omitted, such as environmental and consumer product safety regulations and regulations affecting specific business types like mining, farming, trucking, or financial firms.
For those enterprises, numerous other laws and regulations would apply (For one industry-specific roundup, see the National Association of Automobile Dealers’ 2014 report The Impact of Federal Regulations on Franchised Automobile Dealerships; more such surveys would be highly valuable).
Federal Workplace Regulation Affecting Growing Businesses
- Fair Labor Standards Act (overtime and minimum wage [27 percent minimum wage increase since 1990])
- Social Security matching and deposits
- Medicare, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)
- Military Selective Service Act (allowing 90 days leave for reservists, rehiring of discharged veterans)
- Equal Pay Act (no sex discrimination in wages)
- Immigration Reform Act (eligibility that must be documented)
- Federal Unemployment Tax Act (unemployment compensation)
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (standards for pension and benefit plans)
- Occupational Safety and Health Act
- Polygraph Protection Act
4 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
- Immigration Reform Act (no discrimination with regard to national origin, citizenship, or intention to obtain citizenship)
15 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
- Civil Rights Act Title VII (no discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin, religion, or sex; pregnancy-related protections; record keeping)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (no discrimination, reasonable accommodations)
20 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
- Age Discrimination Act (no discrimination on the basis of age against those 40 and older)
- Older Worker Benefit Protection Act (benefits for older workers to be commensurate with younger workers)
- Consolidation Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) (continuation of medical benefits for up to 18 months upon termination)
25 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
- Health Maintenance Organization Act (HMO option required)
- Veterans’ Reemployment Act (reemployment for persons returning from active, reserve, or National Guard duty)
50 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
- Family and Medical Leave Act (12 weeks unpaid leave or care for newborn or ill family member)
100 EMPLOYEES: ALL THE ABOVE, PLUS
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act (60-day written notice of plant closing)—Civil Rights Act (annual EEO-1 form)
By executive order or by working with Congress on appropriate reforms, a new president can build upon this what we know by surveying and disclosing how federal regulations accumulate in specific sectors. Knowing the impact of regulation in important industries, sectors and economic subdivisions can help a new president guide successful reforms and liberalizations.
Also in this Series:
How A New President Can Roll Back Bureaucracy, Part 1: Freeze Regulations Temporarily
How A New President Can Roll Back Bureaucracy, Part 2: Boost Regulatory Review Resources and Free Market Law and Economics Staff at Agencies
How A New President Can Roll Back Bureaucracy, Part 3: Professionalize Review, Revision, Repeal and Sunsetting of Regulations
How A New President Can Roll Back Bureaucracy, Part 4: Expand Number of Rules Receiving Cost Analysis
How A New President Can Roll Back Bureaucracy, Part 5: Scrutinize All Agency Decrees That Affect the Public, Not Just Formal “Rules”
How A New President Can Roll Back Bureaucracy, Part 6: Enhance Rule Disclosure In the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations
This series builds upon recommendations in “One Nation Ungovernable? Confronting the Modern Regulatory State,” in Donald J. Boudreaux, ed., What America’s Decline In Economic Freedom Means for Entrepreneurship and Prosperity, Fraser Institute and Mercatus Center at George Mason University (2015), pp. 117-181.