“Porkulus” has no relation to economic recovery; But other reforms do.

Today CEI and other free-enterprise analysts and advocates are making one last pitch to stop the anti-stimulus package that President Obama is likely to sign tomorrow. In this weblog and elsewere we’ve often noted that the stimulus package, like those in decades past, is unrelated to economic recovery and serves other ends of career politicians, many of whom haven’t paid for so much as a potato with money they’ve earned or “created” in the private sector. Moreover, the uncertainty generated by every new “rescue” announcement from DC is starting to look downright diabolical, almost as if creating pandemonium and market confusion were an end in itself.

Anyway, we’ve called for wealth-creating alternatives to mega-spending packages, and various other reforms; virtually everything in the Anti-Stimulus actually merely stimulates government and political power, and each has a pro-free-enterprise mirror image that would grow the private sector and wealth instead–from irresponsible federal involvement in schools to infrastructure expansion. Today, since the regulatory state is such a huge component of Washington, I thought I’d point out again some ideas on how to “Liberate to Stimulate.”

Each year some 4,000 regulations pour out of Washington, imposing annual costs of $1 trillion (is that even a big number anymore?) Regardless, they need review and control; here are a few options (for detail, see the full report Jump, Jive an’ Reform Regulation: How Washington Can Take a Swing at Regulatory Reform):

–Halt Regulation Without Representation: Require Congress to Approve Costly or Controverial Agency Regulations
–Publish an Annual Regulatory Report Card
–Require that Agencies Calculate Costs, but not Benefits
–Lower “Major Rule” Thresholds for Formal Review
–Create New Categories of Major Rules to Improve Analysis
–Explore Regulatory Cost Budgets
–Publish Data on Economic and Health/Safety Regulations Separately
–Disclose Transfer, Administrative and Procedural Regulatory Costs
–Explicitly Note Indirect Regulatory Costs
–Agencies and the OMB Must: (1) Recommend Rules to Eliminate and (2) Rank Rules’ Effectiveness
–Create Benefit Yardsticks to Compare Agency Effectiveness
–Reconsider Review and Sunsetting of New and Existing Regulations
–Establish a Bipartisan Regulatory Reduction Commission to Survey Existing Rules and Assemble a Package to Eliminate

We’ll review all of these but the idea of a Regulatory Reduction Commission in particular is something we’ll return to here on OpenMarket shortly. Restoring government to something resembling it’s proper bounds will now require such major campaigns.