My Mercatus Center colleagues Veronique de Rugy and Tad DeHaven have a wonderfully radical proposal for improving infrastructure in the United States: reduce Uncle Sam’s role in building and maintaining it.
According to Wayne Crews, who makes an annual estimate of the cost of compliance with federal regulations alone, “Costs for Americans to comply with federal regulations reached $1.863 trillion in 2013”—which is equivalent to more than 13 percent of national income. Compliance with state and local government regulations surely adds a large amount to Crews’s estimate for federal compliance alone. No one needs to tell Americans, however, how onerous and exasperating the entire mass of government regulations and related red tape has become. Virtually every part of economic and social life now bears these heavy burdens, and any truly meaningful appraisal of the size of government today must take them into consideration along with the amounts the various governments are spending.
Walker’s tendency to buckle under to “our guys” shows us how he’ll behave when the subsidy-sucklers come calling. He will say “buzz off” to Planned Parenthood and the government unions, and good for him. But when the Wall Street lobbyists ask for special favors, or the manufacturers demand their subsidies — what do you think Walker will do?