April 2, 1992 PRESIDENT BUSH ON REGULATORY REFORM +quot;I won't neglect my responsibility
April 2, 1992
PRESIDENT BUSH ON REGULATORY REFORM
"I won't neglect my responsibility for sound regulations
that serve the public good, but regulatory overkill must be
-- President George Bush
State of the Union Address
January 28, 1992
o President Bush has made the reduction of burdensome
regulation a priority in spurring economic growth. The
President has taken significant steps to ease the
stranglehold of unnecessary regulation. Excessive
regulation, no matter how well-intentioned, stifles economic
growth and inhibits job creation.
o The extent of federal regulation is striking: federal
regulations filled over 33,000 pages last year, with over
7,000 regulations issued. All told, the cost of complying
with federal regulations is estimated to be between $300
billion and $500 billion each year. Last year, Americans
spent 5.2 billion hours filling out government forms.
o The President believes that reducing unnecessary regulation
will give Americans more control over their lives -- the
power to make the best economic and personal decisions for
themselves and their families and businesses.
o At the President's direction, the Administration is
undertaking a number of regulatory relief measures that will
improve Americans' quality of life and remove unnecessary
costs on business, including:
-- Streamlining the FDA approval process for new drugs,
and removing barriers so that terminally-ill patients
can receive new, potentially life-saving drugs, that
have not yet been approved for general use;
-- Reforming regulation of biotechnology companies to
allow more rapid approval of safe new biotech products;
-- Reducing administrative costs for small businesses;
-- Giving contractors greater flexibility in manning
-- Using innovative market mechanisms to reduce the costs
to the economy of complying with strict Clean Air Act
standards -- without sacrificing environmental goals;
-- Minimizing regulatory burdens for farmers and food
o Under the Vice President's leadership, the President's
Council on Competitiveness is assisting federal agencies in
reducing regulatory barriers that hamper the growth of
American industries, especially those involved in high
technology. In many cases burdensome regulations inhibit
necessary growth and investment. Removing these barriers
will mean more jobs and enhanced American competitiveness.
The Problem of Over-regulation
o When government regulates with a heavy hand, businesses,
especially small businesses so vital to job creation, are
forced to compromise productivity and efficiency and suffer
increased costs. Consumers end up paying a hidden tax
because, inevitably, the added costs of government
regulation are passed on to them in the form of higher
prices for products and services. As the President has
explained, "From the tab on a bag of groceries at the
checkout line to the sticker price on the showroom floor --
every American takes a hit when the government over-
o When American businesses suffer the burdens of costly red
tape, they become less competitive at home and throughout
the world. Government red tape delays the introduction of
products made possible by American know-how. Delayed by
cumbersome government approval processes, these products
become more expensive and less competitive when they finally
enter the marketplace. As a result, economic growth
suffers, wages are depressed, jobs are lost, and valuable
products and services are denied American consumers.
The President's Program for Regulatory Relief
o President Bush is no newcomer to the issue of excessive
government regulation. As a businessman, he experienced its
impact; as Vice President, he began a sustained, decade-long
effort to reverse the extensive regulatory trend. As head
of the President's Task Force on Regulatory Relief, then-
Vice President Bush spearheaded efforts to reform regulation
of financial services -- reforms Congress still refuses to
enact -- that would have eased the cost of raising capital,
and improved the competitiveness of American financial
markets. Efforts by the Task Force on Regulatory Relief are
estimated to have saved over $150 billion that otherwise
would have been spent in complying with needless
o As President, George Bush has continued to fight against the
stifling effects of heavy-handed bureaucracy. The President
believes that regulators must be sensitive to how their
regulations affect economic growth and job creation.
Despite pressure from affected businesses and consumers, the
Democratic Congress refuses to ease burdensome regulation by
passing the President's proposals. Nevertheless, the
President has used his executive authority to devise and
implement necessary reforms:
-- In his State of the Union Address, the President
announced a 90-day moratorium on new regulations to
review the impact of existing and proposed rules on job
creation and economic growth.
-- Agencies are to accelerate initiatives that could
promote growth and create jobs.
-- Agencies are to review carefully their regulations to
ensure their benefits to society clearly outweigh their
-- Agencies are to use performance standards to the
fullest extent possible, rather than command-and-
-- Agencies are to ensure their regulations are crafted to
provide clear and certain guidance to regulated firms,
and to avoid needless litigation.
Regulatory Relief: Improving Americans' Quality of Life
o The Bush Administration's regulatory relief program is
helping to improve Americans' quality of life, by promoting
innovative products for consumers and treatments for
-- To expedite the process of bringing vital and possibly
life-saving drugs to market, the Food and Drug
Administration will cut needless red tape and
streamline the government drug approval process.
Accelerating this process offers hope to all Americans
with serious or life-threatening diseases for which
there is no effective alternative therapy.
-- To harness America's great ingenuity and the enormous
potential of advanced science, the President has
proposed new plans to promote the development and
commercialization of biotechnology products. As the
President explained, "this is a $4 billion industry and
it should grow to $50 billion by the end of the decade
if we let it." The President's deregulatory efforts
will help secure American leadership in this vital
industry of the future.
-- The Administration has developed a plan to help remove
old cars -- the biggest polluters and the biggest gas
guzzlers --from the road. This "Cash-for-Clunkers"
program will help businesses meet the tough standards
of the Clean Air Act at less cost, without sacrificing
either the environment or economic growth.
Regulatory Reform: Spurring Economic Growth
o The Bush Administration's regulatory relief program is
spurring economic growth by removing unnecessarily costly
regulations, promoting underdeveloped industries, and
improving business' access to capital:
-- Recognizing the vital role of small businesses in the
domestic economy, the Administration is reducing the
burdens of the payroll tax system, simplifying
reporting and payment procedures, and offering clearer
guidance and assistance to employers.
-- To further enhance the ability of small businesses to
raise needed capital, the Securities and Exchange
Commission is simplifying needlessly complex
registration requirements and increasing the maximum
size for public stock offerings under the streamlined
procedures of SEC Regulation A from $1.5 million to $5
-- In the energy area, the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission and EPA are making natural gas more
accessible and less costly to consumers and American
industry. Cheaper and more widespread use of clean-
burning natural gas will lower energy costs, improve
the environment and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
-- To reduce the costs of transporting goods, the
Interstate Commerce Commission and the Federal Maritime
Commission are easing several regulatory burdens on the
trucking, rail and other shipping industries,
ultimately lowering costs to businesses and consumers.
-- To improve access to credit and capital, the
Administration is adopting rules that would strengthen
banks by allowing them to operate across state lines.
This will make more credit available to spur new home
-- The Department of Labor has given contractors greater
flexibility in staff construction projects. That means
lower construction costs to businesses and more entry-
level jobs in building trades.
-- The Department of Agriculture and the Environmental
Protection Agency have taken several steps to help
farmers produce and market their products at less cost.
Among other things, the Administration is relaxing
restrictions on pesticides as soon as scientific
evidence shows them to be safe, and is modifying overly
stringent labelling requirements.
Regulatory Reform: Making Government More Responsive
o Bush Administration regulatory reforms are also making
government more responsive to Americans' needs and wants,
streamlining the way government works and stopping
unnecessary government intrusions into Americans' lives:
-- The President has proposed sweeping reform of the civil
justice system, proposing to ease the enormous costs
and burdens of litigation in the federal courts. This
initiative, by lowering litigation costs (the "lawyers
tax") and adopting rules that discourage frivolous
lawsuits, will also improve access to the legal system
for those with legitimate claims.
o Through these efforts, the President has demonstrated a
broad commitment to making government an ally instead of an
adversary to the cause of American competitiveness. By
cutting back on needless red tape and accelerating
initiatives that promote jobs and economic growth, the
President is making sure that government regulations serve
their intended role, and do not become a means of imposing
unnecessary burdens and government control.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank