Federal Regulations Cut Standard of Living by 75 Percent Over 56 Years
Over 56 Years
Written by Bob Adelmann
The 20th annual snapshot of the federal regulatory state published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) last month announced the arrival of an unhappy milestone: Regulatory costs now equal more than half of all federal spending. Put another way, the real cost of government in the United States is half-again as much as the federal budget. It is approaching a third of the country’s economic output. Said CEI in its Ten Thousand Commandments 2013 report: “Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions — perhaps trillions — of dollars every year over and above the costs of the official federal outlays that dominate the [current] policy debate.”
Just how many billions and trillions the regulatory state costs, and has cost, the American economy has been put into perspective by two economists in their paper, “Federal Regulation and Aggregate Economic Growth,” published in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Growth. Rather than count the cost in dollars, the authors, John W. Dawson and John J. Seater, take a unique approach and attempt to measure how much lower Americans’ standard of living is today compared to what it would be if regulations had stayed at the level they were in 1949, the starting point of their study. Their conclusion? The average American household’s income would be $27,500 a month instead of the $4,400 a month that it is currently.
In their study they count the pages of federal regulations from 1949 through 2005 and discover that they have grown by 600 percent, slowing the economy by an estimated two percent every year. In simple terms, today’s economy, which produces about $17 trillion in goods and services every year, would instead be producing almost $55 trillion. And the authors apologize that their study doesn’t reflect state and local regulations during that period as the effort that would have been required to collect and analyze them as well would have greatly exceeded their time and resources.
In a word, incomes and standard of living for the average American family would be even higher than they estimate, had that data been available. They also note that the avalanche of regulations under the Bush and Obama administrations were not included as part of their study.
There were only four years in that 56-year span when federal regulations declined: once under Reagan, and three under Clinton. In every other year, regulations increased, moving from 19,335 pages in 1949 to 134,261 in 2005.
Ronald Bailey, the science correspondent for Reason magazine and the author of “Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths,” evaluated the loss in standard of living in a different way but came to same conclusion. By adding two percent to the real historical 3.2 percent annual rate of growth in America’s economy from 1949 through 2011 — and then doing the math — he found that America’s economic output would be $49 trillion, just slightly below the $53.9 trillion estimated by Dawson and Seater. Bailey notes coyly:
Whatever the benefits of regulation [may be], an average household income of $330,000 per year would buy a lot in the way of health care, art, housing, environmental protection, and other amenities.
Bailey then speculated as to why governments do this to their citizens. He came up with three theories: politicians attempting to improve social welfare by correcting “market failures”; companies capturing control of the agencies regulating them in order to exclude competitors and increase their profits; and politicians seeking to increase their power.
There is, of course, a fourth theory not mentioned by Bailey but supported by the political reality of the emerging totalitarianism extant in the country. David Horowitz, in his explosive pamphlet “From Shadow Party to Shadow Government,” tracks the intents, purposes, and actions of a primary driver behind the current political scene, George Soros, and concludes that his agenda could essentially be distilled down to three overriding themes: the diminution of American power, the subjugation of American sovereignty in favor of one world government, and the implementation of a socialist redistribution of wealth.
This has been a common theme for decades, first exposed to light when a committee of Congress, the Reece Committee, investigated tax-exempt foundations in the early 1950s. Norman Dodd, the chief investigator for the committee, talked with Rowan Gaither, then-president of the Ford Foundation, who explained:
Mr. Dodd, all of us here at the policy-making level of the foundation have at one time or another served in the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA) or [in] the European Economic Administration, operating under directives from the White House.
We operate under those same directives….
The substance of [those directives] is that we shall use our grant-making power to so alter life in the United States that we can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union [in a one-world government].
All that the authors of the report published by the Journal of Economic Growth and the analysis by Bailey have done is to show just how successful those directives have been, and what they have cost Americans in unattained standards of living far beyond those being enjoyed today.
by J. Christian Adams
Something perverse happened after the Supreme Court’s decision today invalidating citizenship-verification requirements in Arizona for registrants who use the federal voter registration form. The Left knows they lost most of the battle, but are still claiming victory. That’s what they do. Election-integrity proponents and the states are saying they lost, but don’t realize they really won.
The Left wins even when they lose, and conservatives are often bewildered and outfoxed in the election-process game.
Earlier today, I called the decision a nothingburger. After re-reading the case and reflecting a bit more, it’s clear that the decision was a disaster for the Left and their victory cackles are hollow — and they know it.
Worse, conservatives dooms-dayers who have never litigated a single National Voter Registration Act case have taken to the airwaves, describing the case as a disaster which invites illegal-alien voting.
In the last year, I’ve litigated five NVRA cases and worked on the preemption issues for years, and there is more to cheer in today’s opinion than there is to bemoan. Those complaining about the opinion don’t understand what the Left’s goal was in this case: total federal preemption. On that score, Justice Scalia foiled them; indeed, the decision today was a huge war won, even if the small Arizona battle was lost.
From my time in the Justice Department Voting Section, I can remember intimately the wars over some of the preemption issues decided today.
The Left essentially believes that anyone who fills out a federal Election Assistance Commission registration form should be allowed on the rolls, no questions asked. There were complex fights over the “citizen check-off box” issues, with the Left wanting the box rendered meaningless, and conservatives and election-integrity proponents believing a registration cannot be processed until a registrant affirms on the box that he or she is a citizen.
Before the decision today, here is what the Left wanted:
● Invalidation of Arizona’s requirement that those submitting a federal form provide proof of citizenship with their federal form. Mind you, the citizenship-proof requirement is NOT part of federal law and the Election Assistance Commission does NOT require it in the form they drafted.
● Invalidation of state citizenship-verification requirements when a state voter registration form is used (yes, such forms exist separate from the federal requirement) on the basis of federal preemption. They wanted the Arizona case to invalidate all state citizenship-verification requirements.
● Automatic registration if a registrant submits a completed federal EAC approved registration form, no questions asked.
● Federal preemption on the ability for states to have customized federal EAC-approved forms that differed from the default EAC form.
● Federal preemption over states, like Florida and Kansas, looking for independent information on citizenship to root out noncitizens from the voter rolls. Again, the Left wanted the federal EAC form to be the no-questions-asked ticket to the voter rolls.
So what is the score on these five goals after Justice Scalia’s opinion today? Election-integrity advocates are batting .800; left wing groups, .200. And the most insignificant issue of the five is the one issue the Left won. Justice Scalia foiled 4 of 5 of their goals, and the 4 biggest ones.
How does it work? The decision today uncorks state power. The Left wanted state power stripped and they lost.
First, Arizona can simply push the state forms in all state offices and online, and keep those federal forms in the back room gathering dust. When you submit a state form, you have to prove citizenship. Thanks to Justice Scalia, that option is perfectly acceptable. Loss for the Left. Victory for election integrity.
You might say, “That’s a small victory.” Nonsense. This was the whole ballgame to the groups pushing the Arizona lawsuit. They lost, period.
Next, when voters use a state, as opposed to a federal, form, they can still be required to prove citizenship. The federal form is irrelevant in that circumstance.
After the decision today, states have a green light to do double- and triple-checking even if a registrant uses the federal form. The Left wanted the submission of a federal form to mean automatic no-questions-asked registration. This is a big loss for the Left because now states can put suspect forms in limbo while they run checks against non-citizen databases and jury-response forms. Another significant victory in today’s decision. The Left wanted to strip them of that double-checking power.
The decision today is a great example of how conservatives can be distracted by squirrels running past. It is understandable and forgivable because they aren’t daily immersed in the long-term election-process agenda of the left-wing groups. Nor do they daily involve themselves with the details of election process. But having been in the “preemption wars” for nearly a decade, I can assure you this case is a big win, even if it doesn’t appear so at first glance.
By Jon N. Hall
Ed Wallis, commenting on my last article at American Thinker, left this message: “Dear author, please read J. Christian Adams’ article on the Arizona decision; it seems most Conservatives read it WRONG: WE WIN.” Inasmuch as Mr. Wallis was good enough to provide the link to the article, I took his advice. But only when I arrived at P J Media and saw Adams’ photo did I remember who he is. Mr. Adams is a former Justice Department attorney whom I had seen several times on TV. He resigned in protest over the non-pursuit of the Black Panther voter intimidation case. You can learn a bit about Adams from Quin Hillyer’s introduction of him (video) to a meeting of the Federalist Society. Adams has gone on to bigger and better things since absquatulating from Eric Holder’s DOJ, such as writing a book, Injustice and blogging at Election Law Center.
I thank Ed Wallis for pointing me to Adams’ article; it’s succinct, elegant, and everyone who cares about election integrity should read it. Adams posted his article on the very day (June 17) that the Supreme Court delivered its ruling on the case concerning Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registrants:
After re-reading the case and reflecting a bit more, it’s clear that the decision was a disaster for the Left and their victory cackles are hollow — and they know it.
Worse, conservative dooms-dayers who have never litigated a single National Voter Registration Act case have taken to the airwaves, describing the case as a disaster which invites illegal-alien voting. [Link added.]
In the last year, I’ve litigated five NVRA cases and worked on the preemption issues for years, and there is more to cheer in today’s opinion than there is to bemoan. Those complaining about the opinion don’t understand what the Left’s goal was in this case: total federal preemption. On that score, Justice Scalia foiled them…
Another terrific article that also came out on the day of the Court’s decision was Hans A. von Spakovsky’s “Voting by Noncitizens in Arizona” at National Review. Spakovsky’s is a fine companion piece to Adams’:
The final three pages of Scalia’s opinion lay out a roadmap whereby Arizona can get around this ruling. In 2005, Arizona asked the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the federal agency responsible for the federal voter-registration form, to “include the evidence-of-citizenship requirement among the state-specific instructions on the Federal Form” for any residents of Arizona. The EAC’s four commissioners split 2 to 2, so the agency took no action. “We are aware of nothing that prevents Arizona from renewing its request,” Scalia suggests. [Link added.]
If the EAC refuses the request or “its inaction persists,” Scalia writes, then Arizona can sue the EAC and establish in court that “a mere oath will not suffice to effectuate its citizenship requirement and that the EAC is therefore under a nondiscretionary duty to include Arizona’s concrete evidence requirement on the Federal Form.”
If one examines the EAC’s federal voter registration form, one can see that it doesn’t require much information. But there is one item of info that could make all the difference for election integrity and that’s Box 6: ID number. The problem with Box 6, however, is that it varies from state to state. From the instructions we read:
Box 6 — ID Number
Federal law requires that states collect from each registrant an identification number. You must refer to your state’s specific instructions for item 6 regarding information on what number is acceptable for your state. If you have neither a drivers license nor a social security number, please indicate this on the form and a number will be assigned to you by your state.
I sifted through the 18 pages of State Instructions, and I found only six states that require registrants to provide their “full” social security numbers (or SSNs) for Box 6. Those no-nonsense states are Hawaii, Kentucky, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. While there are variations in the details these six states provide for Box 6, it’s interesting that they all begin their instructions identically: “Your full social security number is required.” It’s interesting that Hawaii, a very “liberal” state, is among those with this strictest of requirements; Hawaii’s entry reads:
6. ID Number. Your full social
security number is required. It
is used to prevent fraudulent
registration and voting. Failure
to furnish this information
will prevent acceptance of this
application (Hawaii Revised
Statutes, Section 11‑15).
Even Arizona, the “rogue state” in question, doesn’t demand one’s full SSN to register to vote. Most of the states ask for driver’s license. Of course, illegal aliens have little trouble in getting drivers’ licenses. But for those without such licenses, the states demand the last four digits of one’s SSN. If that seems reasonable to you, please explain it to me by calling me at home — you can reach me at all hours with my personal telephone number; here are the last four digits: 6281.
The question is: what are the six stout states that actually have the good sense to demand a registrant’s national ID going to do with it? Are they going to verify that it is a valid legal SSN by using, say, E-Verify? And are they going to demand that voters use their SSNs when voting, so that election workers can match them?
Unless the six states fully “use” the full SSN, it’ll just be another useless piece of data gathering dust. And then we have the 44 states and the District of Columbia that make only the lamest of attempts at citizen verification.
Had “the Left” gotten everything they wanted in the Arizona case, it would have been disastrous for election integrity in America. But it was a status quo ruling; America still doesn’t have election integrity. So I’ll say it again, before Congress does comprehensive immigration reform, they need to enact comprehensive election reform.
Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.
by HERBERT LONDON June 28, 2013
Recently the Supreme Court delivered a rebuke to Governor Jan Brewer and the citizens of Arizona arguing in a 7 to 2 majority that the state violated federal law when it added a proof of citizenship requirement to a federal voter registration form almost a decade ago.
According to the majority decision the high court ruled that in areas where Washington holds constitutional authority – as is the case with immigration and the rules for federal elections – states may not override Congressional judgment.
In 2004 voters in Arizona approved a state initiative that required proof of citizenship when residents sought to vote. That proof could be a passport or a birth certificate. Under federal law, registrants only need to sign a form attesting to voter eligibility under penalty of perjury.
According to Arizona’s attorney general, Tom Horne, in the last year more than 200 people were caught having registered to vote without holding citizenship. Nonetheless, Justice Antonin Scalia, in his majority decision, held that Arizona state law interfered with Congress’s prerogatives. As he noted, federal law “forbids states to demand that an applicant submit additional information beyond that required by the federal form.”
Presumably anyone in Arizona who wants to vote illegally will ask for the federal form. Arizona officials remain free to crosscheck information that registrants supply on the federal form to ensure accuracy, but considering actual voting practice this is unlikely.
In his dissenting opinion Judge Alito wrote: “The Court reads an ambiguous federal statute in a way that brushes aside the constitutional authority of the States and produces truly strange results.” The strange result to which he refers is opening the gate for illegal voting. There is no doubt the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the motor voter law of 1993, sustains federal authority over voting provisions, but the argument that proof of citizenship is a burden that discriminates against certain groups is absurd on its face. The only group it discriminates against is illegal voters, those specifically mentioned in the Constitution as ineligible to vote.
Moreover, this court decision invites the cynical conclusion that elections are rigged, that the very integrity of elections can be called into question. As the last presidential election indicated, places like Colorado had voting districts with 140 percent participation and Philadelphia had districts in the inner city that voted 100 percent for President Obama. You mean, there wasn’t one error, one misplaced vote? One might add, what happened in those instances where voter fraud was unambiguous? Who was penalized and how many of these cases were merely dismissed?
The Arizona law wasn’t foolproof, but it at least provided another appropriate hurdle through which the illegal voter must jump. That is now gone. Attorney General Holder applauded the decision and as one might expect wrote an amicus brief challenging the Arizona law.
Needless to say – although I will – every American who has a right to vote should be encouraged to do so. No one, regardless of race or ethnicity, should be denied access to the polls. But that does not mean we should allow, through foolish interpretation of federal law, an opening for fraud in the form of illegal voting.
I am sure Justice Scalia didn’t have that in mind with his majority decision. Sometimes, however, a narrow interpretation of the law can lead to unanticipated baneful results.
Herbert London is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the President of the London Center for Policy Research. He is president emeritus of Hudson Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America).
PC and Criminal Background Checks
By W.A. Beatty
Wow! Talk about political correctness (PC) run amok. This has to be the most outrageous antic by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) since last year’s debacle against Pepsi, and the 2009 shakedown of Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. The EEOC, using our tax dollars, is actually suing two companies that do not permanently employ people who have criminal records: BMW and Dollar General. It seems that the EEOC found what it characterized as “statistical disparities” in the hiring rates of “blacks and nonblacks” after BMW and Dollar General ran criminal background checks on prospective employees.
In what has to be the doings of some crazy and/or power-mad people, the EEOC issued guidelines in 2012 that cautioned companies against not hiring minority applicants who have committed a crime. The EEOC actually recommended that companies eliminate policies that “exclude people from employment based on a criminal record.”
The EEOC says that criminal background checks eliminate potential employees, and that employers should review each applicant and take the crime into consideration. The EEOC says that an automatic hiring ban of people found to have criminal records is tantamount to discriminating against black job applicants, which is, in its opinion, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But nowhere can I find any guidance from the EEOC regarding “consideration.” The EEOC is quick to condemn and sue companies, yet it offers no guidance.
The EEOC accused Dollar General of “gross disparity” based on race. Dollar General, during a three-year period, revoked conditional employment offers for 10 percent of its black applicants but did the same for only 7 percent of “nonblack” applicants. Got that? The EEOC accused Dollar General of “gross disparity” based on race. Keep these percentages in mind as you read further.
The EEOC accused BMW of a similar racial disparity. BMW (South Carolina) requires all of its contractors to subject their employees to criminal background checks. UTi Integrated Logistics (UTi) is one of the contractors. “The EEOC says that because 80% of the terminated employees [at UTi] were black, BMW ‘disproportionately screened out African Americans from jobs.’” Got that?
The EEOC has stepped up its efforts to get companies to refrain from using criminal background checks to screen job applicants because the Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama administration says it discriminates against blacks. But here are two facts that the Obama administration and the EEOC seem to have missed (or purposely ignored?):
1. From the Census Bureau, the 2011 estimate is that blacks constitute 13.1 percent of the U.S. population.
2. From the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrests in 2011 were:
|Murder and non-negligent manslaughter||48.0%||49.7%|
Discrimination? Where? If, as the EEOC and Obama claim, criminal background checks are discriminatory, then, in order for them to be discriminatory, the rates of crimes by race should be about the same as the population race percentages. But they’re not — not even close. Yet the EEOC had the chutzpah to accuse Dollar General of “gross disparity” because the EEOC found a 3-percent non-hiring disparity.
And it accuses BMW of “statistical disparities” when following its hiring policies. Never mind that those terminated were let go because they had criminal records. But the EEOC seems to ignore “statistical disparities” and “gross disparities” evident in the general population. These government numbers kinda put the EEOC’s “statistical disparities” in perspective, don’t they?
Perhaps BMW’s and Dollar General’s error was to not contribute enough to Obama’s campaigns, or to hire his cronies.
As if the above is not bad enough, New York City Democrats now want crime reports to be PC. They want to “… pass a bill that would limit a description of a suspect [and] to identify suspects essentially by the clothes they wear only.” If this bill passes, then a description of a suspect’s sex, race, and age — anything that might assist apprehension — would be prohibited. The bill, sponsored by Democrats Jumaane Williams and Brad Ladner, will, if passed, permit police to be sued for racial profiling if they transmit a description of a suspect that goes beyond the color of his or her clothing. Williams and Ladner say that “… it would only expand the city’s existing racial-profiling law by adding other demographic groups that should be protected, such as the homeless and gay people.”
Don’t get me wrong. This is not about blacks or whites or race. It is about PC and Democrats, about craziness, about the EEOC and Obama administration ignoring government numbers in order to advance agendas. I’m all for equal employment, but when the EEOC ignores its own government numbers, files lawsuits, and ultimately tries to tell companies who they can and can’t hire, it has overstepped its bounds. All, they say, in the name of opportunity. This is PC at its worst.
Facts are meaningless. Are we living in a bizarro-world, or what? All we can do is shake our heads in disbelief.
Dr. Warren Beatty (not the liberal actor) earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.