Last week, freshman Congressman Andy Barr, a Republican U.S. representative from Kentucky, gave a stirring speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. He identified underemployment as a huge weight on our economy. Currently only 58 percent of working-age people are employed, as opposed to 63 percent prior to the most recent recession. More troubling is that there has been no sign of improvement to the 58 percent level for the past few years.
Rep. Barr ties this lack of improvement to the continuing avalanche of regulations emanating from Washington, DC. He cited a recent study that concluded that the Dodd-Frank Act will require 24 million hours per year from financial institutions to comply. For perspective, he noted, it only took 20 million hours to build the Panama Canal!
The amount of regulation on the American people today totals 174,000 pages. Within the past four years, three years hold the record for adding the most regulatory paperwork in our country’s history. The cost of this regulation, if brought down to expense per American household, amounts to $14,768 annually. The only average expense that is higher is housing. We simply have to do a better job.
“We the people” need to rise united and let our congressmen know that it is their actions that are keeping America and her citizens from attaining the prosperity that we work hard for. Congress, and only Congress, can turn this situation around. It must roll back the reach of the federal government by reducing the amount of regulations that exist. Congress needs to write the rules, not legions of unelected staff attorneys who protect their own jobs in the process.
Some 30 years ago, I spent a couple of days on a charter fishing boat on Lake Michigan with a few friends, including two gentlemen in their 70s. They were complaining about the overreach of government, and how much they had to pay in taxes. Eventually they came to a sarcastic conclusion: “We should be happy that we don’t get as much government as we pay for.” Today, I have no doubt we are getting more government than we pay for, and our children and grandchildren will have to make up the difference.
Thank you, Congressman Barr, for your cogent presentation. It gives us hope!