This morning, CPR Member Scholar Sidney Shapiro will testify before Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the economic value of regulation. He’ll be a lone voice on the roster of witnesses. The hearing will have two panels of witnesses. The first will feature five industry representatives, and the second will feature two representatives of right-wing think tanks (Heritage and Mercatus), one leader of a nonprofit that advocates for small businesses, and Shapiro. That would be eight witnesses who may be expected to support Issa’s witch hunt for burdensome regulations, versus one defender of efforts to actually enforce the laws Congress has passed to protect health, safety, the environment, workplace safety, consumer rights and more.
Shapiro’s may be a lone voice, but it’ll be a clear one. And Shapiro’s testimony will cover a fair amount of territory. Among other things, he’ll review the findings of the recent CPR report he co-authored demolishing the Small Business Administration’s Crain and Crain report, which provides the flimsy basis for the frequently heard assertion that regulations impose an annual burden of $1.75 trillion on the economy. (Spoiler: The number is severely overcooked, and the authors don’t bother to account for the economic benefits of regulation, which happen to be larger than the costs.)
Another topic certain to come up is the GOP’s REINS Act, the scam of a proposal to block all regulations from taking effect unless they are specifically approved by both houses of Congress within 70 days of submission and then signed into effect by the President. The proposal is a transparent effort to create a mountain-sized obstacle to enforcement of laws that the GOP and its business supporters don’t like, but which nevertheless are the law of the land. About a dozen things about the proposal scream “bad idea,” and Shapiro described them in a backgrounder last fall. (It’s pegged to the 2010 iteration of the bill, but the current version is no better.)
Today’s hearing starts at 9:30 ET, and the Committee’s website promises a video feed, and CPRBlog will be live-tweeting from the hearing room. Follow @CPRBlog.