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Piling on regulation

In an essay last year, I speculated that "today there is a possibility that the Obama regime’s call for ‘more regulation’ will just pile on to the substantial [non-financial] regulation that already exists". Well, it seems there is an attempt to do just that.

The Financial Times reports about a legislative proposal that would give the Federal Trade Commission more power. The FTC's chairman, Jon Leibowitz, said in congressional testimony that the commisson's additional authority would "significantly enhance the agency's ability to stop financial fraud." However, the FTC's remit extends far beyond financial services. Indeed, the FT notes that the FTC is about to release guidelines that recommend that media and food companies limit the types of food they market to children, such as soups, snacks and sugary cereals.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal writes about how the United States Conference of Mayors is citing the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930s' New Deal as an idea to emulate so as to boost employment directly. But the regulatory environment today is such that even a relatively simple idea like direct employment by the government would run into regulatory road-blocks.  According to the Journal, "White House officials noted that the New Deal took place in a different world, one without environmental impact statements, complex calculations to determine prevailing wage scales for workers, or extensive public reporting on the use of funds."

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