Thursday, July 23, 2009

Over-regulation is more than just an annoyance

In a highly politically polarized country such as the US, there are two positions that people usually take when it comes to regulations:

The democrats/liberals tend to believe that regulations are panacea and the solution for all the "evils" or at least "shortcomings" of free market capitalism. To them, regulators are some kind of superhuman, flawless people who can centrally decide what is right for everyone and impose it on regular people. This is necessary because, as you well know, regular people are flawed and stupid and keep making bad decisions about their own lives. As opposed to the regulators who need to take away people's choices and coerce them. For their own good, of course.

Even the so-called conservatives who oppose regulations, however, do not realize how harmful regulations can really be. Oftentimes, it is assumed that regulations will be annoying inconveniences that will result in higher costs and inefficiency. Which is true but there is more to it than that. Regulations, combined with overzealous enforcement officers, can end up seriously hurting or even killing people.

Thanks to my favorite TV journalist, John Stossel, for this link from the Washington Times.

A telling statement from the link:

"This includes victims such as 12-year-old Ansche Hedgepeth, who was handcuffed, searched and thrown in a paddy wagon for eating a single french fry in a Metrorail station"