KENNEDY: Overregulation Is Costing Us Jobs

Six years ago, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act into law with the lofty goal of preventing food contamination instead of simply responding to it.

The idea behind the act makes complete sense.  We all want the food that our families eat to be safe.

The devil, though, is always in the details, and the Food Safety Modernization Act is devilishly detailed.

Grocers who are trying to stock shelves, sell groceries, manage personnel and balance their books must follow the act’s seven major rules. Each of those rules is close to 500 pages in length. That’s 3,500 pages (or twice as long as “War and Peace”).  And that doesn’t even include all of the other food regulations that already were on the books.

Burdens like this are why I’m cosponsoring the RED (Regulations Endanger Democracy) Tape Act of 2017 (S.56) with U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).  This bill would cut through the red tape and help businesses that are awash in onerous regulations. Instead of borrowing money to comply with federal rules and regulations whose costs clearly outweigh their benefits, our business owners could focus on growing their businesses and creating jobs.

The legislation is pretty simple.  For every new regulation that a federal agency proposes, the agency must identify two existing regulations that will be repealed.

We’re banishing the clutter, and we have a financial reason for doing so.

The number of regulations in the U.S. has exploded. Every year, more and more regulations are adopted.  You’d think we’d get rid of regulations before adding even more, but we don’t.  The federal bureaucrats just stack the new regulations on top of the old regulations.

If U.S. regulation were a country, it would be the world’s 10th largest economy.  U.S. regulatory costs are bigger than the goods and services produced by the entire country of India in a year.

Federal regulations impact how much money you pay for groceries, the size of your paycheck and, if you are a business owner, how much your business can expand.  In short, regulations impact your pocketbook and your profits.

The cost of regulation amounts to half of federal spending, and federal spending was $3.687 trillion in 2015.  Yes, you read that right.

Think about it this way.  New regulations stack on top of the rules from the prior year. In 1993, we had 4,369 federal agency rules.  In 2015, we had 94,246 federal agency rules.  Again, yes, you read that right.

Good government means good common sense.  Americans and Louisianans need jobs. Businesswomen and businessmen can’t create those jobs, and employees’ wages can’t rise, if too much working capital is being spent on federal rule compliance instead of new plants, machinery, equipment and software.  I’m convinced that’s one of the main reasons why the American economy only grew 1.9% last year.

The RED Tape Act of 2017 that Senator Sullivan and I are sponsoring doesn’t eliminate all federal regulations – some are clearly needed.  Our bill will, however, force bureaucrats to get rid of the stupid ones.  No country has ever regulated itself into prosperity, just like no country has ever taxed itself into prosperity.

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