Opinion: Regulation, feel the pain
Free Press Opinion Columnist
Here are some big numbers! Americans pay over $1.5 trillion in income taxes annually. Americans also pay over $1.7 trillion annually in cost of regulation.
What does regulation mean to each of us every day? The first big budget item that comes to mind is the price of gas when we fill up our vehicle. In 2008 we were paying $1.80 a gallon. Now we are thrilled when the price has dropped to $3.17. Yes, cars are now more efficient.
How much more efficient can the trucking fleet be that delivers our groceries and all goods we buy for everyday life? Why has the price of groceries gone up two and three times in the last six years? A great part is the transportation cost. Instead of a 24-ounce jar, it is now downsized to an 8- or 12-ounce size at the same price or higher.
When the Obama Administration came into office, they said gas did not cost enough. The price must go up to reduce driving cars. This may work in some places, but not here in the West.
Every time a regulation is passed, there is a cost — there are federal and state gas taxes; in order to drill, there are more regulations that cost more money; and each regulatory cost is passed on to the consumer.
Colorado went from No. 2 in the country in 2008 for drilling to about 44th. Regulation has increased exponentially as well, along with fines and threats to close even producing wells.
It is amazing that we have one drop of oil or gas produced with the increasing regulations and the number of lawsuits that are filed on every new well and exploration.
In speaking with a young man from another country, discussing the local economy, he was shocked at the idea of private property rights being voided, the government shutting down wells and rescinding long-term contracts. His comment: “But this is America!”
The Dodd-Frank Act was passed in response to the mortgage crises. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was formed to write the regulations for enactment. And 15,000 pages and counting, we, as consumers, banks, mortgage lenders are all feeling the pinch. The regulators have no oversight and are responsible to no one. Lenders’ resources — which would go to making loans and customer service — is being pushed into trying to comply with regulations. Plus, people hoping for a loan become frustrated by the ever-changing regulations and reams of application requirements.
Water is another necessity, too. Grand Valley water providers have been trying for years to increase storage in Grand Mesa’s facilities or, at least, repair existing reservoirs. Once again, continuous lawsuits are filed and all the funds go to regulation and attorney fees. Our only hope is that we continue to have above normal rain and snowfall.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Congressman Scott Tipton has co-sponsored legislation that would require a review of the regulations written to enact legislation. The legislative process should not be by-passed by EPA and other regulatory agencies to put forth their own rules. Tipton has often said that there is no review of regulations, but it takes an act of Congress to make any change.
Bob Beauprez, candidate for governor, has stated he will have a regulatory review agency in place immediately to determine what rules are necessary and which ones are hurting Colorado (and our ability to prosper our jobs and economy).
There was a cartoon when the Former Soviet Union was breaking apart. A big brown bear was so wrapped in red tape he could no longer move.
Lois Dunn is a real estate broker, life-long Republican and chairman of the Mesa County Republican Party. She has a background in ranching, and she’s concerned now for the future of our children and our country.
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