Regulation plays a critical role in refereeing competition in a free market economy. But there’s a problem: Each year, Congress piles new rules upon old, creating a thick sludge of regulations – some obsolete, repetitive, and even contradictory – that weighs down citizens and businesses. In 2017, the Code of Federal Regulations swelled to a record 186,374 pages, up 19 percent from just a decade before.
The steady accumulation of regulations raises compliance and opportunity costs for businesses, especially small enterprises, putting obstacles in the way of economic innovation. Dozens of agencies in Washington issue new rules, but not one is dedicated to retiring old ones. To fill this institutional vacuum, PPI proposes a Regulatory Improvement Commission (RIC), modeled on the highly successful Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process for closing obsolete military installations. Like the BRAC process, the proposed RIC would examine old rules and present Congress with a package of recommendations for an up-or-down vote to eliminate or modify outdated rules.