CHRIS EDWARDS, CATO INSTITUTE
The coronavirus is battering the U.S economy as businesses cut back and close down. Unfortunately, federal policymakers are pursuing their usual misguided response to all crises—passing a big stimulus bill that will accomplish little except putting the government further into debt. After the financial crisis a decade ago, Congress passed an $800 billion stimulus and we suffered the slowest recovery since World War II.
Government spending to boost demand won’t help the economy when supply chain disruptions and safety fears are restricting production. Rather than stimulate demand, governments should repeal regulations that aren’t in place for legitimate safety reasons.
These articles point to regulations that are being repealed, or should be repealed, to aid the crisis response. Many of the regulations are unneeded even if there were no crisis. CEI, ATR, CNN, and Walter Olson have compiled similar lists.
- Federal protocols that undermine hospital flexibility in hard‐hit areas.
- State restrictions on telemedicine. Federal restrictions on telemedicine for Medicare.
- Rules on doctors and nurses practicing across state lines.
- Failed restrictions on virus testing. The FDA has finally moved to allow companies to sell test kits directly to the public. Also, here.
- Certificate of need rules for hospitals to add beds and other equipment. Also, here.
- Expedited licensing of new and retired medical professionals.
- State restrictions on operational flexibility at health facilities.
- Restrictions on alcohol take‐out, and also rules on deliveries in alcohol trucks.
- Requirements for certain professionals to work in offices.
- Rules restricting online higher education.
- Rules restricting online education if special education is not fully served.
- Hours of service regulations for truck drivers.
- TSA rules on hand sanitizers.
During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, bureaucracy and regulatory bottlenecks amplified the damage. Let’s hope that governments have learned the lesson and move quickly to repeal rules that stand in way of rapid and efficient private‐sector responses.
Chris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at the CATO Institute and editor of www.DownsizingGovernment.org. He is a top expert on federal and state tax and budget issues. Before joining Cato, Edwards was a senior economist on the congressional Joint Economic Committee, a manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and an economist with the Tax Foundation.