4 ways Congress can help American businesses

The US unemployment hovers around 8.2 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is struggling to remain above 12,000. The message is clear: This recovery from the Great Recession is still fragile. Legislators should focus their attention on these four straightforward policy changes to help American commerce.

3. Get rid of outdated, ineffective regulations

Legislators should act to sunset regulations that aren’t working or have outlived their usefulness. The hard truth is that much of the regulatory environment for business in this country is driven by inertia: Once installed, it takes a herculean effort to get any regulation revoked.

There is an alarming tendency on the part of the government to over-regulate or penalize economic behavior. Fear of expensive compliance pushes away businesses and innovation to other countries.

That’s the wrong way around. The burden should be on the government to justify the continuation of a particular regulation. Regulations should only be retained if they serve a clear and meaningful purpose.

Currently, the regulatory burden is especially heavy on the chief job creators in the US – small businesses. Firms with fewer than 20 employees incur an average of $10,000 in regulatory costs every year, per employee. Those expenses are directly handicapping their ability to expand and hire.

Congress should establish an independent review commission that will regularly apply a critical eye to the national regulatory infrastructure. Wasteful, useless, and overly punitive rules should be identified and swiftly eliminated.

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