Canada’s just passed one of the most sensible laws I can think of.
Thankfully, regulatory transparency got a considerable boost Thursday when the Red Tape Reduction Act (C-21) received Royal Assent and became law. Minister Tony Clement, who has championed the bill, can be proud that Canada is now the first country in the world to require that for every new regulation introduced one of equivalent burden must be removed.
C-21, has been operating as policy for several years already, which means that the costs of new rules must be quantified and equal or greater costs removed. It essentially caps the cost of rules coming directly from regulations. Government rules can also come from legislation and policy so the one-for-one rule is not a cap on the cost of all government rules. Still, it is a very good start.
Why is this so important? Regulation, both necessary and unnecessary (red tape), are a huge hidden tax on all Canadians. The latest estimate from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business suggests that regulation costs $37 billion a year.
. . .
Prime Minister Harper calls red tape a “silent killer of jobs.” He’s right. One of the disturbing findings from CFIB’s recent report is that one in four of today’s business owners would not advise their kids to go into business given the current burden of complying with government rules. But discouraging businesses from starting is just the beginning of red tape’s negative impacts. Red tape wastes valuable time that could be spent doing any number of other things like serving customers, learning new skills, or enjoying family. For consumers, it increases prices and reduces choices.
Red tape’s most destructive impact is that it undermines the relationship between government and its citizens. Struggling with confusing language, getting put on hold for excessive periods of time, getting bad compliance advice from government agents or running up against a dumb, costly rule shakes one’s faith that the taxes we pay are working for us not against us.
There’s more at the link.
I’d love to see such a law passed in the USA as well – but going further than the Canadian one. I’d like the US law to mandate that two older regulations should be abolished for every new one introduced. We need to do more than merely maintain regulations at their present level; we need to begin reducing their burden on our society.
Now, who among our politicians will start the ball rolling? Of the current crop of Presidential candidates, I suspect Scott Walker’s the most likely prospect. How about it, Mr. Walker? Put that in your platform and I think you’ll gain an awful lot of support.