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Some Simple Ways To Improve Regulation And Boost Economic Growth

Stressed out African American female freelancer working from home using her laptop and encountering … [+] some problems concerning her business.

Nearly halfway through his first term, President Biden has imposed considerably more and paperwork hours than Obama or Trump at similar points in their presidencies. Despite Biden’s barrage of red tape, the economy has managed to slowly chug along. But now the labor market is weakening and the chance of  is increasing, making this the perfect time for policymakers to take a different approach to regulation, one that emphasizes performance rather than control.

The Biden administration has imposed more than $317 billion in final rule costs and over 216 million hours of new paperwork since January of 2021, far exceeding Obama’s or Trump’s regulatory activity, as shown below via data collected by the American Action Forum.

Studies show that too much regulation slows economic growth, reduces the number of new businesses, and lowers household incomes. These adverse effects are amplified when regulation is poorly implemented, as is often the case.
In a recent from the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University, authors Susan E. Dudley, Joseph J. Cordes, and Layvon Q. Washington examine the cost of badly designed regulations. One study they discuss from the Netherlands Central Bureau of Economic Analysis found that a 25% reduction in administrative costs would increase GDP by 1.4%. Another study found that simplifying legal structures can increase total factor productivity by 0.6%.

Some of the negative impact regulation has on growth is avoidable. Good regulatory practices that make compliance less uncertain, more flexible, and less time-consuming can boost economic growth while still achieving the goals of the regulators. To that end, the authors offer several suggestions.

First, regulators should rely on performance or market-based regulations rather than design standards when possible. The former set targets for performance but do not require a particular means to reach the target. For example, the Clean Air Act set a target for sulfur dioxide emissions but did not tell firms how to achieve it, giving them room to innovate and experiment with different solutions. A study estimated that this performance standard reduced the costs of complying with the Clean Air Act by 50%.

At the state and local level, building codes present a great opportunity to use performance standards. Instead of specifying design standards or the type of insulation or other materials developers must use, state and local officials could set targets for energy efficiency, fire safety, earthquake resistance, and other factors. Builders could then experiment with different solutions to meet those goals.

Second, regulators should set clear targets and provide easy-to-understand definitions of important terms to avoid confusion and unintended consequences. Regulators should also work with businesses to help identify the most burdensome and confusing regulations and target them for reform first. Carefully explaining the purpose of the regulation and offering numerous ways to comply while also reforming or eliminating unnecessary regulations can help regulators generate goodwill among business leaders.

One specific way to generate goodwill is to provide a one-stop shop where entrepreneurs can get all the information and permits they need in one place. As the authors note, research shows that well-functioning one-stop shops that decrease the steps and time required to start a business are associated with a 5% to 6% increase in the number of new firms.

Finally, policymakers should consider changing the incentives of the regulators. Regulators who view their job as managing regulation rather than making regulation are more likely to work with businesses to reform regulations and regulatory processes as needed. Regulators should be incentivized to improve the efficiency of the regulations they oversee and to regularly evaluate what works and what does not. Quantitative targets or regulatory budgets are two ways to force regulators to emphasize the quality of regulation rather than the quantity since such rules preclude them from simply accumulating regulation until they find something that works to their liking.

Some regulations can improve the functioning of the economy by mitigating externalities or help us achieve other widely shared goals concerning, say, safety or pollution. But just because a regulation provides net benefits in theory does not mean it will in practice. Carefully implemented regulations allow regulators to achieve their objectives without excessively curtailing economic activity, and this should be their goal.

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Florida

Erdogan unveils Turkey’s first astronaut on election trail

Turkey’s first astronaut will travel to the International Space Station by the end of the year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday after an illness forced him to cancel several days of appearances.

Air force pilot Alper Gezeravci, 43, was selected to be the first Turkish citizen in space. His backup is Tuva Cihangir Atasever, 30, an aviation systems engineer at Turkish defense contractor Roketsan.

Erdogan made the announcement at the Teknofest aviation and space fair in Istanbul, the president’s first public appearance since falling ill during a TV interview on Tuesday. He appeared alongside Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and Libya’s interim prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.

“Our friend, who will go on Turkey’s first manned space mission, will stay on the International Space Station for 14 days,” Erdogan said. “Our astronaut will perform 13 different experiments prepared by our country’s esteemed universities and research institutions during this mission.”

Erdogan described Gezeravci as a “heroic Turkish pilot who has achieved significant success in our Air Force Command.”

The Turkish Space Agency website describes Gezeravci as a 21-year air force veteran and F-16 pilot who attended the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology.

Wearing a red flight jacket, Erdogan appeared in robust health as he addressed crowds at the festival. Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 14, and opinion polls show Erdogan in potentially his toughest race since he came to power two decades ago.

Turkey is dealing with a prolonged economic downturn, and the government received criticism after a February earthquake killed more than 50,000 in the country. Experts blamed the high death toll in part on shoddy construction and law enforcement of building codes.

While campaigning for reelection, Erdogan has unveiled a number of prestigious projects, such as Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and the delivery of natural gas from Black Sea reserves.

 

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Florida

Israelis rally for 17th week against judicial overhaul plans

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested judicial overhaul proposals Saturday in the 17th weekly rally against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

The demonstrations have been ongoing since the beginning of the year, and organizers plan to continue, despite Netanyahu delaying the changes last month. The leaders of the mass protests want the proposals scrapped altogether.

“We are just getting started,” read a banner that demonstrators held at the main protest in Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic hub. Smaller demonstrations were reported in several parts of the country.

Spanish Prime Minister and Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez voiced support to the Israeli antigovernment protesters in a video message aired on a large screen in Tel Aviv.

We as Socialist International have always fought for freedom, equality, justice, and democracy. Yet, as many of you know, these are values that we cannot take for granted,” Sanchez said.

Protesters argue the proposed changes threaten Israel’s democratic values, hurting a system of checks and balances and concentrating authority in the hands of Netanyahu and his extremist allies.

They also say that the prime minister has a conflict of interest in trying to reshape the nation’s legal system at a time when he is on trial.

Such changes would result in weakening the Supreme Court, giving parliament, which is controlled by Netanyahu’s allies, authority to overturn its rulings and limiting its ability to review laws.

The protest gained support from the military’s elite reserve force, businesses, and large sectors of the Israeli community. But on Thursday, tens of thousands of right-wing Israelis who support the legal

 

 

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Florida

‘Total nightmare:’ As Florida insurance companies go insolvent, homeowners pay the price

Seminole county couple has three-year open claim because of insolvent insurer.

What happens when your property insurer goes out of business?

It is happening quite a bit in Florida and is leading to all policyholders paying more.

The Florida Insurance Guaranty is adding a 1% assessment to policyholders starting in October to cover claims for insolvent companies.

A Seminole County couple has lived without a fully functioning kitchen for three years because their insurer went out of business.

Sandra Braga Alfonso said what started as a leak under her sink has turned into a three-year nightmare.

She said there was already a fight with her insurer to pay out the claim, but then the company went under and it got worse.

Alfonso has a fridge and an oven but is missing lower cabinets, a stove, her normal sink, and a dishwasher.

“It has been a total nightmare,” Alfonso said.

It started in December of 2019 with a leak under her sink, she said.

She eventually discovered water in all her lower cabinets and in the sheetrock behind the cabinets, she said.

“The insurance company gave us approval to rip everything out that was damaged and now they don’t want to pay to put it back in,” Alfonso said.

The insurance company cut a check for $4,800, she said.

Of that $4,300 went to water mitigation to prevent mold. That left about $500, not nearly enough to replace her kitchen, she said.

“We’ve tried to settle, go to mediation, everything,” she said.

Finally, Alfonso and her husband filed a lawsuit against her insurer, but after two years of hearings and motions and waiting for a court date, her insurer went out of business.

She was with Capitol Insurance, but according to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Capitol was merged into Southern Fidelity, which is now one of 14 companies in liquidation.

“I’m over it. I just want my kitchen. I just want to be able to live again. I love to cook, and I can’t,” Alfonso said.

In the last year, Florida lawmakers have had three special legislative sessions to deal with Florida’s property insurance crises.

News 6 asked Alfonso if she thinks anything is being done in Tallahassee to help consumers with their insurance issues.

“No, it’s all for the insurance company,” she said.

One of the biggest moves made in Tallahassee over the last year is the legislature doing away with what is referred to as “one-way attorney’s fees.”

That means if you sued your insurer over a claim and won, the insurance company had to pay your attorney’s fees. Without it, Alfonso said she would never have been able to sue her insurer even though in her case, it didn’t do any good.

No. My husband’s retired. He’s on disability and he’s retired we’re on a fixed income,” Alfonso said.

Alfonso has now turned to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, which handles the claims of insolvent property and casualty insurance companies.

They are still negotiating the amount it will take to fix her kitchen — more than three years later.

“I owned my first home when I was 20-something years old,” Alfonso said. “I’ve been paying my insurance premiums since I’m like 25, never filed a claim and look where I am now,” Alfonso said.

 

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