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McCarty releases op-ed on excessive regulations

Associated Industries of Missouri president Ray McCarty recently released an op-ed on the over-zealous regulations coming from the Obama administration. The op-ed will be distributed in print media statewide.

U.S. Economy Needs Fewer and Better Regulations

By Ray McCarty

Last month I traveled to the KC suburb of Lenexa, KS, for what I hope will be remembered someday as an early skirmish in the battle for regulatory reform in America.

The occasion was a regional hearing hosted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the possibility of more and stricter carbon dioxide emission regulations from the EPA that would, among other things, make it impractical for power companies to generate electricity by burning coal.

Almost 140 people from Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska took the opportunity to speak for three minutes each. I was there representing Associated Industries of Missouri, the Show Me state’s leading business advocacy organization, and  used my three minutes to make a plea for regulatory common sense.

My final advice to the EPA was: “Don’t try to fit the square peg of regulation into the round hole of reason.” Advocates of meaningful regulatory reform will understand what I meant.

Regulation without reason has become a runaway growth industry on the banks of the Potomac. Without the checks and balances provided by a federal budget, our elected representatives in the House and Senate are powerless to stop appointed federal officials from pumping out regulations without independent analysis of their individual benefits or their collective effects on the economy.

Simply stated, no one is regulating the regulators. Excessive, unnecessary and sometimes duplicative regulations are weighing down our economic recovery and stalling job creation. And all this regulation is adding huge unproductive costs to the economy.

Since 2006, there has been a breathtaking 60 percent increase in regulations costing $100 million or more to implement.  It has increased by more than 20 percent over the last decade, under Democratic and Republican administrations. And as you read this, there are more than 3,500 new regulations coming through the federal pipeline.

Costly regulations and worries about more to come have discouraged many companies from hiring, even as the economy has picked up steam. Perhaps that’s why recent Gallup polls show Americans becoming more wary of regulation, with almost half the country agreeing that we are over-regulated.

This tells me the time is right for a bipartisan drive for regulatory reform in Congress.

Meaningful reform would mean cutting back on unnecessary regulations and requiring an independent cost/benefit analysis of any proposed new regulations. We need qualified people to pose the question “will this new regulation do more harm than good?”

Regulatory reform is not a plot by business to eliminate all regulation.  The business community wants to see the regulatory process made fairer, more efficient and more responsive to the needs of the public instead of the narrow agendas of federal agencies.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have expressed interest in that kind of reform, as has President Obama.  But to convert interest into action, we need some key players in Congress to step forward and lead the way. Missouri has the genesis for a bipartisan leadership coalition in our two U.S. Senators: Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt.

For the sake of Missouri and the rest of country, I hope they’re willing to take on the job.

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