Are Federal Regulations Ready for Their Close-up?

Here’s one for all you aspiring filmmakers out there—EPA is offering up $2,500 for the best 90-second video ode to federal regulation.

While we can’t think of a more exciting subject for the next generation of would-be Spielbergs to tackle, we’re stuck wondering: With overregulation choking our economy and stifling growth and job creation—what’s our motivation?

Ed Morrissey over at HotAir appears to be having the same problem:

“Maybe the fact that federal regulation touches almost every aspect of our lives already is reason enough not to cheerlead for it, and especially not to produce propaganda for an expansion of regulation.”

Morrissey was reacting to EPA’s contest promo, which points out something that we’ve mentioned before: the extent to which regulation controls what we do on a daily basis.

“Even before you leave the house in the morning, government regulations help set the price of the coffee you drink, the voltage of electricity your alarm clock uses, and the types of programming allowed on the morning news.”

To further undermine its case for why regulation is good, EPA references a study that states, “for every statute passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, federal agencies create about 10 regulations, each of which have the force of law.”

Not a very inspiring endorsement, is it?  Isn’t the fact that we’re regulated 24-7 a bad thing?

As far as EPA’s motivation, maybe this video contest is meant to help rehabilitate the agency’s image, and that of the federal government in general.  If not, then it should be.  A recent Pew Research poll found EPA’s public favorability has dropped 12 points from a little over a decade ago.  In fact, public perception of federal agencies across the board is way down.  Most Americans now believe that “government has gone too far in regulating business and interfering with the free enterprise system.”

While some may find these results surprising, at HTA, we’re not shocked to see that our message fits squarely in the American mainstream.

I wonder what EPA would think about a video submission that tells viewers the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is over 163,000 pages long, and littered with outdated, unnecessary and burdensome rules.  What about a clip that exposes how excessive regulation in construction translates into higher costs passed on to the consumer, and in the case of public sector work—the taxpayer?  Maybe a look back at 2009—a year in which $14 billion in new federal regulation was introduced?  Or perhaps someone could spend 90 seconds extolling the virtues of paying the taxes on the contest’s $2,500 cash prize (to be paid “in accordance with applicable federal and state tax laws and regulations,” of course).

We’re pretty sure these videos wouldn’t take home the prize—but they would send a message to a federal bureaucracy that prefers to regulate first, and ask questions later.

This entry was posted in Intrusive Government and tagged , , , , , ,

One Comment

  1. Dave
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Who is interested in working on the next HTA videos showing all the ways that regulation is stifling the economy and the ability of small business to get their laid off employees back to work. If all the videos submitted show that the EPA is a misguided agency out of control, does the EPA make the award to the one that best demonstrates that fact, or does HTA have to create that contest.

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