June 20, 2016

Overregulated Britain

Richard Williams

Senior Affiliated Scholar
Summary

But no matter what the result of the vote is, both the European Union and the United States have an issue with excessive regulations that often don't seem to offer a solution or even address a real problem.

Is the "Brexit" – the possible departure of the U.K. from the European Union – a major sign of a populist revolt against bureaucracy? It would seem so, and the warnings of potential consequences seem dire.

Some argue that if the United Kingdom leaves the EU, then there will be a bureaucratic regulation-fest to make sure that no area currently regulated goes unregulated. But that would be nothing new for those long suffering under the weight of British regulations as ably chronicled in the humorous yet depressing book, "How to Label a Goat: The Silly Rules and Regulations That Are Strangling Britain."

Many argue that Britain would be fiscally at risk, yet a recent paper from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that, if we had frozen regulations in the United States at the 1980 level, each person in the nation would be $13,000 richer today. The British government believes that the cost of just the top 100 EU regulations is about $47 billion. If Britain were to leave, someone would actually have to ensure that there wouldn't be a free-for-all for those who favor regulating everything imaginable.

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