Regulation EquationBy Mike Barnett

“To everything there is a season.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“For many regulations, there is no reason.” Mike

From planting to harvesting and everything in-between, regulations are facts of life in agriculture—as they are for every industry and all Americans.

Not all are bad. Regulations have made for a cleaner and safer environment for all Americans. Our food supply is safer because of regulations. The problem is overkill. Rules tend to proliferate like rabbits.

Wayne Crew’s Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State—a survey of the cost and compliance burden imposed by federal regulations—shows the following:

• The Federal Register stands at an all-time record high of 81,405 pages.
• Agencies issued 3,573 final rules. In contrast, Congress and the president signed 217 bills into law.
• Proposed rules have surged from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010—a jump of nearly 20 percent!
• Of the 4,225 rules now in the regulatory pipeline, 224 are “economically significant.” That means they wield at least $100 million in economic impact.

$100 million here, $100 million there—pretty soon, we’re talking about real money. How real? “T” as in trillion–$1.75 trillion in compliance costs, according to the Small Business Administration.

That’s greater than the record federal deficit—forecast at $1.48 trillion for FY 2011.

The problem is a self-perpetuating bureaucratic tendency to make rules: If one is good, five are better.

EPA’s proposals to regulate dust come to mind.

The free-styling attitude that new regulations don’t cost anyone anything needs to end. 

The Golden Rule for regulatory scripture? If cost exceeds the benefit, it’s a bad idea.

Visit the Texas Farm Bureau website at www.txfb.org .
Follow Texas Farm Bureau on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates on this topic and many more. 


Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
Follow Mike on Twitter and Facebook.

2 Responses to “Cost/benefit left out of the regulation equation”

  1. J.C. Hall says:

    Government spending is out of control and every governmental department, agency, program, and regulation needs to be reviewed with the cost/benefit litmus test applied. The folks who authored or endorsed all that bureaucracy are masters at writing justifications so the review should be done by a non-partisan panel that are not influenced by lobbyist or special interest groups. I’ve been through both corporate and personal financial crunches through the years and have seen firsthand how quickly unjustified expenditures can be identified and cut. Reap and BCAP are good examples of programs not standing a simple litmus test. Ethanol and other unsupportable renewable energy programs would also crumble. Our system is overloaded and has to be purged of waste, duplication and needles regulations. A moratorium on expenadures has got to be implamented and inforced like the legilature recently experienced. Fewer bills ever submitted. If it costs money and doesn’t pass review don’t submit it. The USDA is a great place to start the process.

  2. Agree with you both (you and J.C Hall)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>