The coronavirus pandemic needs a long-term policy response. The $2 trillion relief package is an example of short-term “flash policy” at its worst. There is a better approach. Governments across the world are removing regulations that are preventing a full coronavirus response. But it is also important to take a long-term view. Many positive examples of longer-term reform are available with the #NeverNeeded hashtag on Twitter. They cover restrictions on everything from healthcare and restaurants to education and communications technology.
Once some semblance of normalcy returns, Congress should appoint a standing independent commission to comb through the Code of Federal Regulations and identify rules that could get in the way of responding and adapting to the disruptions a future outbreak could cause. There is even pending legislation, the Regulatory Improvement Act, that would implement a version of such a commission.
The idea is not a new one, nor is it partisan in nature. My colleague Wayne Crews and I have proposed something like this several times in the past. Former Sen. Phil Gramm, a Republican, also proposed a regulatory reduction commission in the early 1980s. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat, proposed a similar commission in legislation he introduced in 2017.
There are literally millions of regulatory restrictions on the books. Many of them are getting in the way of the coronavirus response. Others might get in the way of a response to a future pandemic in ways that aren’t obvious today, such as supply chain restrictions or product bans. Other rules simply slow economic growth, and one of the most effective ways to keep people resilient and safe is to be wealthy enough to do so. William Carrier likely had no idea his air conditioning invention would save millions of lives from deadly heat waves.
Read the full piece at the Washington Examiner.