Friday, June 4, 2010

The Era of De-Regulation?

When the current financial crisis hit, we regularly heard cries from the left that since the era of Ronald Regan we have deregulated our economy and this ultimately led to, or contributed to, the current financial crisis. This mantra expanded even further with the current issues with the Gulf Coast Oil spill. We regularly hear that we attempted to let businesses regulate themselves, and this ultimately failed. However, us classical liberals look at the past 30 years and are befuddled that anyone would call this period an era of a deregulated economy. Without any real data, both sides could be correct. Recently the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University released a publication that looks at the budgets for the US regulatory offices. If we did have a 30 period of deregulation, we would expect the budgets for US regulatory offices to decline, correct? However, what the Regulatory Studies Center report finds is that regulatory budgets increased during this 30 year period. In fact, they not only increased, they skyrocketed. If you doubt this, you can locate this report on their website, located at: http://www.gwu.edu/~regstudies/Home.html. Does this mean that some regulations were removed that ultimately were beneficial? No. However, this does seriously call into question the whole mantra that the past 30 years have been a period of deregulation.

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