One of the primary and legitimate roles of any government is to protect its citizens. When the water became unsafe to drink in Flint, Michigan, there was no disputing that the buck stopped with government officials.
But can regulations go overboard? A 2016 survey of Government Accountability Office data indicates that federal regulatory agencies have issued over 47,000 new regulations since 2001. The estimated cost of compliance of just these new additions is $176 billion every year, which is borne by American consumers in the form of higher prices for goods & services. Many of these regulations involve cosmetic aspects of food (how it looks, not whether it is safe to eat), meaning that low-income Americans are paying more for basic necessities than they should.
For example, did you know that it is a federal crime to sell cottage cheese with too much liquid in it? Or to call something “chicken soup” if there’s not enough (as arbitrarily determined by a federal bureaucrat) chicken in it? Or to label an apple as “fancy” if it’s not red enough? These violations carry both fines and prison time! Apparently, federal regulators don’t trust the average consumer to simply not buy a brand again if they aren’t happy with its quality. Nor do they seem to be aware that most grocery stores will issue a refund if a customer is dissatisfied.
These ridiculous regulations don’t just make goods and services cost more: they give big corporations a significant competitive advantage over small businesses. As economists James Gattuso & Diane Katz observe:
The biggest burden will fall on small farms and local food producers who are forced to implement controls, training, and record-keeping systems fashioned for much larger operations. And because the rules are rigid, producers of specialty crops are particularly concerned that advances in food science and technology will become more difficult to adopt.
DeJong Brothers Farms, formerly located in Lansing, Illinois, has already collapsed under the weight of federal regulation. If this trend continues, our food will be sourced exclusively by Big Ag. Competition will be systematically eliminated by faceless, unelected bureaucrats.
The abject failure in a task as basic as safeguarding the water supply in Flint juxtaposed against the pointless micromanagement of our lives by the federal government demonstrates that the regulatory state has lost its way and is badly in need of recalibration. Congress likes to delegate lawmaking responsibility to bureaucrats because it allows them to take credit or shift blame as is politically expedient…and hide the things they do to reward their big-money donors.
It’s time to hit the reset button. It’s time for an Article V Convention. Please sign our petition to let your state legislators know you want them to stand up to the power-brokers in DC. And use the buttons below to invite your friends to join us, too.
Can't see the buttons? Scroll up to the top of the screen and click on the title, "Regulators Gone Wild."