Posted by | October 20, 2012 13:10 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

These are heady days for those of us that study regulation.  Regulation has been mentioned in both presidential debates, getting the most attention in a  presidential campaign in 32 years.  Unfortunately, when we listen to what the candidates say, particularly Governor Romney, one has to wonder if that attention is a good thing.

In Romney’s call for less regulation, he has also referred to a federally-financed study that said the total cost of regulation to the U.S. economy in 2008 was $1.75 trillion.

The 2010 study, for the Small Business Administration, has been challenged repeatedly. A review by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said, among other things, that the report didn’t include the benefits of regulations it studied, which generally exceeded costs.

The Obama Administration responds with:

The government under Obama has issued 1,049 new regulations through Oct. 16, compared with 1,146 in a similar span during the Bush administration, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Of course, this is not a great measure either since the types of regulations issued by the Obama Administration differ from the Bush Administration.  I wish the President’s campaign would cite the net benefits of their regulations which are greater than those of the Bush Administration and is a much better measure of regulatory policy.  Of course, that’s why I’m not working for a presidential campaign.

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.