Are the Costs and Benefits of Regulations Healthy?

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Even though some regulations may be necessary in life, have we gone overboard in making so many rules? Could the very rules that were supposedly made to protect us end up hurting us by their negative repercussions?

Do the costs of regulations outweigh the benefits?

That is an issue addressed by policy expert Paul Driessen in the recent wake of tightening Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards on coal-fired power plants.

Driessen says the EPA touts the rules as beneficial to our health and as protection against man-made climate change. But he questions the reliability of their arguments and points out how small an impact the suppression of coal plant emissions would have, anyway, since they make up such a small percentage of total global human carbon-dioxide emissions.

On top of that, regulations are generally pricey.

“The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s ‘Ten Thousand Commandments’ project calculates that federal rules alone cost American businesses and families $1.8 trillion in annual compliance costs. No one has estimated the enormous cumulative costs of all the multiple layers of rules on our innovation, job creation and retention, prosperity and pursuit of happiness.”

Driessen concludes that such high regulation costs plus other national financial problems also bring job loss and financial, physical, and psychological stresses that may even lead to “lower life expectancies and higher suicide rates.”

“It means every life allegedly saved as a result of regulations is offset by lives lost or shortened because of those rules.”

While such data would be hard to calculate, Driessen does have a point about regulations making life more difficult. He says this actually goes against the National Environmental Policy Act that calls for protecting the “quality of the overall ‘human environment,'” and he advises that regulatory agencies should be more careful to base their solutions on accurate data.

Even though some regulations may be necessary in life, have we gone overboard in making so many rules? Could the very rules that were supposedly made to protect us end up hurting us by their negative repercussions?

>>Source: Driessen, Paul. “The heavy price of regulations.” The Washington Times. 28 Oct. 2013.

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