Benefit of the rules

AKRON — “A recent report in the Washington Post proved revealing. It examined data from surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency asking businesses the leading reasons for their job cuts. In 2010, just 0.3 percent of layoffs were due to ‘government regulations/intervention.’ A far more telling, and obvious, factor? The lack of demand. A recent Hartford Financial Services survey arrived at similar results.

…That isn’t to deny the many tales of maddening rules. Rather, the aim is the larger context, a reminder that regulations serve an invaluable purpose. They prevent people from inflicting harm on other people. They reflect the simple truth that men and women are not angels, as James Madison famously observed about the need for government to balance greed, selfishness, carelessness.

Consider the recent calamities due to a lack of effective regulation, the financial crack-up, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the mine collapse in West Virginia. Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown law professor, makes these points — and another — in a recent essay for the American Constitution Society. She cites John Locke’s notion that the law promotes freedom by protecting people from other people. In other words, regulations shouldn’t be assessed on a narrow measure of jobs. The true test is whether or not they benefit the whole.”

— Editorial, Akron Beacon Journal

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