Regulation Tidbits

Over at the Mercatus Center, James Broughel and Patrick McLaughlin have been hard at work analyzing state-level regulatory burdens. Their results are pleasing to me as a native Idahoan, and distressing to me as a current resident of Oregon.

Idaho–which saw its entire regulatory structure sunset over the summer after the state legislature failed to pass re-authorization legislation, and which has since nearly halved its effective administrative rules as a result–is the fourth least-regulated state in the nation.

I constantly tell my wife how much I miss my native state, so I guess this is yet more encouragement for us to settle there after grad school.

But (for the moment, at least) we’re still in Oregon. As much as I enjoy living here–the eastern half of the state is nigh identical to Idaho, geographically–I chafe at the the excessive regulation. As of October 2019, Oregon is the eighth most-regulated state in the country.

Maybe the eastern parts of Oregon and Washington (which is the sixth most-regulated in the country) really should join Idaho.

Of course, Oregon and Washington are merely symptomatic of a larger problem: government loves to grow, something that arguably draws the most public attention at the federal level.

Between 1996 and 2019, the federal government added an average of more than 290 significant rules per year to the Federal Register. Given that it was nearly 70,000 pages long in 2018, a person might (or might not) be forgiven for not taking the incredible amount of time it would take to familiarize himself with the laws he’s expected to observe–laws that he is likely to break, unwittingly and, probably, on the regular.

Whatever one thinks of The Donald, his proclivity for deregulation is admirable, even if it could be improved upon. Now, if only he would deregulate international trade