Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 25th Nov 20
Amazon Black Friday Dell 32 Inch S3220DGF VA Curved Screen Gaming Monitor Bargain Deal! - 25th Nov 20
Biden the Silver Bull - 25th Nov 20
Inflation Warning to the Fed: Be Careful What You Wish For - 25th Nov 20
Financial Stocks Sector ETF Shows Unique Island Setup – What Next? - 25th Nov 20
Herd Immunity or Herd Insolvency: Which Will Affect Gold More? - 25th Nov 20
Stock Market SEASONAL TREND and ELECTION CYCLE - 24th Nov 20
Amazon Black Friday - Karcher K7 FC Pressure Washer Assembly and 1st Use - Is it Any Good? - 24th Nov 20
I Dislike Shallow People And Shallow Market Pullbacks - 24th Nov 20
Small Traders vs. Large Traders vs. Commercials: Who Is Right Most Often? - 24th Nov 20
10 Reasons You Should Trade With a Regulated Broker In UK - 24th Nov 20
Stock Market Elliott Wave Analysis - 23rd Nov 20
Evolution of the Fed - 23rd Nov 20
Gold and Silver Now and Then - A Comparison - 23rd Nov 20
Nasdaq NQ Has Stalled Above a 1.382 Fibonacci Expansion Range Three Times - 23rd Nov 20
Learn How To Trade Forex Successfully - 23rd Nov 20
Market 2020 vs 2016 and 2012 - 22nd Nov 20
Gold & Silver - Adapting Dynamic Learning Shows Possible Upside Price Rally - 22nd Nov 20
Stock Market Short-term Correction - 22nd Nov 20
Stock Market SPY/SPX Island Setups Warn Of A Potential Reversal In This Uptrend - 21st Nov 20
Why Budgies Make Great Pets for Kids - 21st Nov 20
How To Find The Best Dry Dog Food For Your Furry Best Friend?  - 21st Nov 20
The Key to a Successful LGBT Relationship is Matching by Preferences - 21st Nov 20
Stock Market Dow Long-term Trend Analysis - 20th Nov 20
Margin: How Stock Market Investors Are "Reaching for the Stars" - 20th Nov 20
World’s Largest Free-Trade Pact Inspiration for Global Economic Recovery - 20th Nov 20
Dating Sites Break all the Stereotypes About Distance - 20th Nov 20
THE STOCK MARKET BIG PICTURE - Video - 19th Nov 20
Reasons why Bitcoin is Treading at it's Highest Level Since 2017 and a Warning - 19th Nov 20
Media Celebrates after Trump’s Pro-Gold Fed Nominee Gets Blocked - 19th Nov 20
DJIA Short-term Stock Market Technical Trend Analysis - 19th Nov 20
Demoncracy Ushers in the Flu World Order How to Survive and Profit From What Is Coming - 19th Nov 20
US Bond Market: "When Investors Should Worry" - 18th Nov 20
Gold Remains the Best Pandemic Insurance - 18th Nov 20
GPU Fan Not Spinning FIX - How to Easily Extend the Life of Your Gaming PC System - 18th Nov 20
Dow Jones E-Mini Futures Tag 30k Twice – Setting Up Stock Market Double Top - 18th Nov 20
Edge Computing Is Leading the Next Great Tech Revolution - 18th Nov 20
This Chart Signals When Gold Stocks Will Explode - 17th Nov 20
Gold Price Momentous ally From 2000 Compared To SPY Stock Market and Nasdaq - 17th Nov 20
Creating Marketing Campaigns Using the Freedom of Information Act - 17th Nov 20
ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT - 17th Nov 20
Stock Market Uptrend in Process - 17th Nov 20
How My Friend Made $128,000 Investing in Stocks Without Knowing It - 16th Nov 20
Free-spending Biden and/or continued Fed stimulus will hike Gold prices - 16th Nov 20
Top Cheap Budgie Toys - Every Budgie Owner Should Have These Safe Bird Toys! - 16th Nov 20
Line Up For Your Jab to get your Covaids Freedom Pass and a 5% Work From Home Tax - 16th Nov 20
You May Have Overlooked These “Sleeper” Precious Metals - 16th Nov 20
Demystifying interesting facts about online Casinos - 16th Nov 20
What's Ahead for the Gold Market? - 15th Nov 20
Gold’s Momentous Rally From 2000 Compared To Stock Market SPY & QQQ - 15th Nov 20
Overclockers UK Quality of Custom Gaming System Build - OEM Windows Sticker? - 15th Nov 20
UK GCSE Exams 2021 CANCELLED! Grades Based on Mock Exams and Teacher Assessments - 15th Nov 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Government Regulation is a Another Hidden Tax

Economics / Market Regulation Mar 16, 2015 - 12:09 PM GMT

By: MISES

Economics

D. Brady Nelson writes: Perhaps due to it not being as readily quantifiable as government taxation, debt, welfare, and money creation; regulation has too often been superficially dealt with. In many ways, the largely “hidden tax” of regulation is a bigger threat to liberty, economy, and morality than other weapons of forceful government intervention.


What Is the Problem?

The total number of restrictions in federal regulations has grown from about 835,000 in 1997 to over one million by 2010, and the number of pages published annually in the Code of Federal Regulations, never substantially declined, and in fact has consistently grown. It has been estimated that regulatory compliance and economic impacts cost $1.863 trillion annually. This amounts to US households paying $14,974 annually in regulatory hidden taxes, with households thereby spending more on embedded regulation than on health care, food, transportation, entertainment, apparel and services, and savings.

However, this is just the proverbial tip of the regulatory-burden iceberg. The tangible burdens above are a quite manageable list of the more immediate impacts such as extra money spent by business to comply and government to enforce regulation. However, the intangible burdens are an almost infinite list of the less immediate impacts, such as lower performance throughout the economy in terms of entrepreneurship, innovation, growth, customer service, and jobs. The intangible burdens do not readily lend themselves to quantification like the tangible burdens do, and thus it is harder to understand the magnitude and even the exact nature of the almost infinite potential problems caused-and-effected. This is made harder due to the fact that value is always subjective (and ordinal) to each individual at any one point in time and, thus, there are no objective (or cardinal) opportunity costs and benefits of regulations as a whole that can simply be observed, calculated, and compared using cost benefit analysis (CBA).

Why Is There a Problem?

The most important of these intangible burdens of regulation are the unintended negative consequences on decentralized and dispersed knowledge and incentives. As Frédéric Bastiat pointed out: “In the economy … a law gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause — it is seen. The others unfold in succession — they are not seen.”

Thus, in terms of regulation and other policies: “[I]t almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse.” The unintended consequences of regulation are usually even worse than this, as they usually — unlike in free markets — promote a relatively small group of private interests at the expense of a relatively large group of individuals.

From a Public Choice school perspective, the regulation problem is essentially one of government failure and rent seeking, noting that: “(1) individuals in government (politicians, regulators, voters, etc.) are driven by self-interest, just as individuals in other circumstances are, and (2) they are not omniscient.”

Worse still: “[S]pecial interests are disinclined to seek direct wealth transfers because their machinations would be too obvious. Instead, regulatory approaches that purport to provide public benefits confuse the public and reduce voter opposition to transfers of wealth to special interests.”

From an Austrian school perspective, the regulation problem is essentially one of economic calculation and bureaucracy. Ludwig von Mises explains: “Without market prices for the means of production, government planners cannot engage in economic calculation, and so literally have no idea if they are using society’s resources efficiently. Consequently, socialism [and regulatory interventionism] suffers not only from a problem of incentives, but also from a problem of knowledge.” Mises said regarding the latter that: “A bureau is not a profit-seeking enterprise; it cannot make use of any economic calculation.” And this inevitably leads to regulatory failure as: “… [t]he lack of [profit-and-loss, price and customer-oriented] standards [which] kills ambition, destroys initiative and the incentive to do more than the minimum required.” All of this is, of course, the antithesis of consumer-driven entrepreneurialism.

At perhaps a still deeper level, Murray Rothbard reasoned:

When people are free to act, they will always act in a way that they believe will maximize their utility. ... Any exchange that takes place on the free market occurs because of the expected benefit to each party concerned. If we allow ourselves to use the term “society” to depict the pattern of all individual exchanges, then we may say that the free market ‘maximizes’ social utility, since everyone gains in utility.

On the other hand:

Coercive intervention … signifies per se that the individual or individuals coerced would not have done what they are now doing were it not for the intervention. … The coerced individual loses in utility as a result of the intervention, for his action has been changed by its impact. … [I]n intervention, at least one, and sometimes both, of the pair of would-be exchangers lose in utility.

What Is the Solution?

The solution is of course deregulation — as much as possible, as fast as possible. However, both special interests (as emphasized by the Public Choice school) and bad economics (as emphasized by the Austrian school) will need to be overcome.

This combination was colorfully dubbed the “Bootleggers and Baptists” phenomenon. It has been observed that:

[U]nvarnished special interest groups cannot expect politicians to push through [regulation] that simply raises prices on a few products so that the protected group can get rich at the expense of consumers. Like the bootleggers in the early-20th-century South, who benefited from laws that banned the sale of liquor on Sundays, special interests need to justify their efforts to obtain special favors with public interest stories. In the case of Sunday liquor sales, the Baptists, who supported the Sunday ban on moral grounds, provided that public interest support. While the Baptists vocally endorsed the ban on Sunday sales, the bootleggers worked behind the scenes and quietly rewarded the politicians with a portion of their Sunday liquor sale profits.

More dauntingly, Murray Rothbard reminds us that, in many ways, the history of humanity can be seen as a race between bigger government versus freer markets:

Always man — led by the producers — has tried to advance the conquest of his natural environment. And always men — other men — have tried to extend political power in order to seize the fruits of this conquest over nature. … In the more abundant periods, e.g., after the Industrial Revolution, [freer markets took] a large spurt ahead of political power [including over regulation], which ha[d] not yet had a chance to catch up. The stagnant periods are those in which [such] power has at last come to extend its control over the newer areas of [freer markets].

It will not be easy to slow, stop, and reverse the century-plus growth of the regulatory state in the US and around the world. The crucial job of pursuing deregulation cannot just be left to politicians from the top down. It will need to come more from as many voters and seceders as possible from the bottom up and every direction in between.

D. Brady Nelson is a regulation expert with the Heartland Institute of Chicago, Illinois.

http://mises.org

© 2015 Copyright D. Brady Nelson- All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules