Regulatory Opacity

In today’s Investor’s Business Daily, Wayne Crews and I make the case that one of the biggest obstacles to regulatory reform is a lack of agency transparency. It’s hard to fix a problem if you’re unable to even diagnose it properly. Here’s a taste:

Politicians from both parties routinely tout the need to roll back unnecessary regulations. But how much overregulation is there exactly? Most politicians have no idea, and neither does the general public.

Most people have some idea that the government spends nearly $4 trillion annually given the prominence of the recent debates over the “fiscal cliff” and “sequestration.”

But there is no equivalent regulatory metric. This is a problem that needs fixing.

Agencies aren’t exactly forthcoming with data about how much their rules cost, since bureaucrats’ sinecures depend at least in part on avoiding public outrage. The documents they do issue are widely scattered and rarely written in language accessible to the lay reader.

In short, the regulatory state has a major transparency problem.

Read the whole thing here.