20.9.17

THAT KUDZU IS THERE FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

Clemson's Bruce Yandle, famous in political economy for his "bootleggers and Baptists" description of the administrative state (put briefly, Baptists are shocked to find there is bootlegging going on, demand Government Do Something, and incumbent bootleggers benefit because Government Bans Competition) has now come up with another good metaphor.  The regulatory kudzu is strangling initiative in the private economy.

Kudzu is a government-introduced invasive species, brought in precisely because its aggressive growth makes it a better cover crop than a quick-growing catalpa tree.
Kudzu vines grow so rapidly, as much as 60 feet in a growing season or two feet a day, that soon those eroded fields that had been unfit for the plow became vine-covered fields that could not be plowed.

The vines recognized no fence lines. Along with farmers' fields, everything was fair game, including telephone poles, abandoned homes and barns, and even unpaved roads and byways. Eventually, in 1997, after 40 years of kudzu conquest, Congress placed the vine on the federal noxious weed list. It is now being poisoned. In spite of the effort to take back the soil, kudzu still prevails in many areas.
The stuff is so prolific that, worst case scenario, a bad bout of continental warming will be followed by the winter wheat crops of the Dakotas and the prairie provinces being crowded out.  I think I've had to yank out a plant or two in my back yard, fortunately there are no power poles for the stuff to crawl up in this neighborhood.

But perhaps Our President, while he's keeping the barking moonbats occupied looking at his social media accounts, is uprooting the kudzu in the swamp.
Trump's new rule stating that two old regulations must be removed for any new one places a heavy burden on regulators, and it has the potential to lighten the regulatory load we all carry. In recent years, the number of Federal Register pages that announce new and modified rules has grown by more than 200 pages per day, 365 days a year.

It's high time we cut back some kudzu. But there's more to the Trump executive order. When the cost of planting the new rule is weighed against the cost relief of pulling two different rules, the net difference must be no more than zero. In other words, the implied "regulatory budget" is zero. Of course the entire two-for-one process will be subject to the Administrative Procedures Act, which means that due process and opportunities for citizens to respond will be preserved.
Sometimes freedom emerges from darkness.  "This will have a tremendous positive impact on business and job creation. The media has failed to notice this but that’s not a surprise, is it?"

Let the record show that a Congress, and the executive departments given broad powers by various legislation, can sometimes add by subtracting.  "Congressional lawmakers have gone all in on President Trump's bid to slash Obama-era regulations, targeting $19 billion in rules and the elimination of enough red tape to free up 5,200 federal workers, according to a new analysis."

In the past year, that work has rolled back about a year of stagnation-inducing Hope and Change.

Let the record show, however, that there are some business interests who would rather behave like cartelized bootleggers.  Or cartelized greenies.
Mr. Trump’s exit [from the Paris climate accords] suggests that we might be observing the start of a new chapter in America’s environmental saga—a disturbance in how the Bootlegger-Baptist framework normally functions to support costly environmental regulations. But do not bet against the environmental coalition in the longer term. It is, after all, strong, well organized, and loaded with deep-pocket bootleggers. And remember, the market is the ultimate environmental regulator, and market forces seem to be calling for a cleaner world.
Yes, and market forces less constrained by incumbent-favoring regulations and subsidies might be more effective at producing a cleaner world, not to mention a world where the kudzu won't take over the winter wheat fields.

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