Posted by | December 11, 2011 09:19 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

One after the other last night, in their first response of the debate, the Republican candidates for president said they would get rid of regulations that hamper businesses.  Here’s some news for friends and foes of regulation alike, they won’t.  There are three basic reasons:

1. Most regulations are required by law.  To get rid of the regulations, you have to get rid of the underlying laws.  And we all know that the President can’t do that by himself.  It now requires the agreement of 60 Senators.

2. For those regulations that are not specifically required by law, courts have held that you can’t change them just because you think they are a bad idea.  Courts have repeatedly thrown out “repeals” of existing regulations.

3.  So, in order to repeal an EPA regulation, it takes years of building a record and going through the regulatory process.  And the court may still disagree that your decision is justified.

Regulations, once promulgated, do not go away.  Presidents can veto statutes that require new regulations, they can slow down the pace of new regulations, and they can refuse to enforce existing regulations (hard when you say you are in favor of enforcing the law), but they can almost never get rid of regulations.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.