Think government regulation doesn’t touch you? Think again!

Government regulation touches your daily life in ways you don’t even imagine, according to the Center for Regulatory Solutions.

In “Regulation: A Primer,” Susan Dudley and Jerry Brito, of George Washington University and George Mason University, respectively, paint a helpful picture of how regulation “touches our everyday lives in thousands of ways that we may never imagine.”  As Dudley and Brito note, “These rules have both benefits and costs, but most people are unaware of their reach and influence.”  And these rules are enforced by a vast bureaucracy. 

In 2012, Dudley and Brito write that “close to 300,000 full-time federal employees are devoted to issuing and enforcing regulations,” a “more than five-fold increase in the size of the regulatory bureaucracy since 1960.”  

Here are just some of the ways that federal regulations affect our everyday lives:

  • “Perhaps your day starts when your clock radio goes off in the morning. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates not only the airwaves used by your favorite radio station, but also the programming content. Electricity regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and by state regulatory agencies powers your radio. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regulates the type of light bulb you can use in your lamp. 
  • “The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service also plays a role in your breakfast. It sets grade standards and purchases fruits and vegetables ‘to correct supply and demand imbalances,’  which keeps prices higher than they otherwise would be.” 
  • “On your way out of the bathroom, you may have to flush your low-flow toilet twice, a result of mandates imposed by the DOE’s appliance efficiency rules.” 
  • “Also joining you for your cup of java is the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates the hedging of investments in coffee beans, sugar, and other commodities.” 
  • “If you do not have a carpool, you may have to take a roundabout way to your office because the most direct route is reserved for “high occupancy vehicles” during the morning rush hour. The EPA’s air quality state implementation plans, or SIPs, mandate that states set aside roads for carpools or forfeit federal highway funds.”

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