Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How much regulation is enough?

It was clear from Obama's SOTU last night that governmental regulation is going to be a major issue in the 2012 presidential campaign. The Republican mantra of less regulation, especially environmental regulation, will flow easily from nearly every Republican Candidate and you even heard Obama cite a Republican President, Lincoln, to the effect that "That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more."

With that background, we need to be look at the economic impact of some problems that we try to resolve through regulation. That this for an example:
Study: Citrus Greening Cost State $3.6 Billion, 6,600 Jobs

some info from the article:
Citrus Greening (called Huanglongbing in it's contry of origin, China) has now been confirmed in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas and most citrus-producing regions of Mexico. It was discovered in Florida in Sept 2005. At the Second International Research Conference on Huanglongbing in January 2011, researchers estimated greening had already infected about 18 percent of Florida's citrus trees, estimated at 70.6 million trees last year. Some say as much as 25% are infected. Thousands of acres of citrus are no longer producing saleable fruit and are now abandoned, with the psyllids continuing to spread the disease to nearby orchards.
A UF study says that since the citrus seasons of 2006-07 through 2010-11, the disease has cost the state's economy $3.6 billion over five years, including 6,611 lost jobs in agriculture and related industries.

If this were anything else that you morning orange juice, I am sure that we would have heard about it through the morning news. In stead, we get a guessing game over the medical condition of Demi Moore. However, you don't hear about this type of work, and it goes on every day. But it is easy to find attacks on the Endangered Species Act or restraints of free trade.

Greens need to have a clear definition of the role of government regulation. Maybe Lincoln's thinking is a good starting point. We also need to clearly articulate how we can do this with community based economic development, because it soon become apparent that what is good for one community may not be good for it's neighbor. Lacking such an understanding, we will easily fall victim to the massive, industry financed publicity campaigns, not only as politicla voices, but as voters and consumers.

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