It isn’t Christmas Day yet, much to the chagrin of impatient youngsters, but it’s already time for America to put together a wish list for Christmas 2017. Not for family, friends, or Santa, but for the new Congress that will soon arrive in Washington. By this time next year, they should have provided some valuable and long overdue reforms to the American people. This list should include policies that enrich our lives and the economy by liberating our wealth-creating potential. Here are six gifts that Congress can give Americans before we bring out the tinsel and mistletoe again next year.
- Trim the Tree – and the Regulatory Burden
Next Christmas, the only place where we should see red tape is on presents under the tree. It’s been a record-breaking year for government rules, and it’s time for Congress to rein in out-of-control regulation and reduce the costs it imposes on Americans. Because of the current regulatory excess, we see lower youth employment rates, declining rates of small business formation, and more businesses closing than are being created. Thankfully, Congress has several tools available, such as the Congressional Review Act and the proposed Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act. These tools can be used to cut back on the regulations burdening Americans.
- A Prosperous New Year
Americans are being hurt both by rules that limit their access to capital and programs that divert resources from productive activities to politically favored ends. Congress can increase economic opportunity and spark entrepreneurship by removing these barriers. This gift will unleash America’s wealth-creating potential, making us all better off.
- Worker Cheer
Work is a big part of our lives, and we want to see job opportunities that are both plentiful and flexible. Unfortunately, recent labor regulations undermine these goals. Rules from two key federal agencies, the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor, restrict flexible work arrangements and well-established business relationships that create new jobs. These rules also ignore the changes happening in the way we work. With the emerging sharing economy and its potential to improve our lives, it’s important that these outdated regulations are scrapped. It’s up to Congress to fix these problems by preventing the implementation of these rules and reforming the agencies themselves.
- Ensure that “All is Bright”
December is the season of lights, and we depend on affordable energy to keep those lights twinkling. Policies from lawmakers and the Environmental Protection Agency, however, are poised to raise prices, making almost everything else we buy more expensive as well. Congress must reject national and international campaigns to tax, regulate, and demonize reliable carbon-based fuels. These policies particularly hurt poor and middle class families that spend a greater proportion of their income on energy. Instead, lawmakers must look to policies that favor affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy.
- “Tech” the Halls
America has long been a place that fosters innovation, and it’s precisely this freedom that has created tens of millions of high-skilled jobs and improved lives around the world. Lawmakers should avoid prohibitions and restrictions that hold back these technological advances. Instead, Congress should look for ways to get rid of these threats and cut through the regulatory schemes that have long outlived their usefulness.
- Lift a Glass to Consumer Choice
Government rule-makers are trying to rob us of our holiday joy by telling us what we can eat, what we can drink, and how we can spend our time and money. Government bureaucrats shouldn’t be allowed to veto our lifestyle choices – consumers, not government, are the best judges of value and quality. To stop this government Grinch, Congress should limit the marketplace police to protecting consumers against false claims.
When the holiday dust settles and members of Congress return in January, they must look for ways to fuel economic growth and expand opportunities for all Americans. Let’s hope Congress is able to give Americans the gifts they deserve. Check out more of CEI’s policy proposals for the 115th Congress here.