Essay About Regulation

Cutting regulations

Why do we have regulation?

The federal government is sometimes criticized for enforcing too many regulations on business and personal activities. There are many types of regulations. Some, like rules for how cars are built, are intended to keep people safe. Some, like rules governing sales on the stock market, try to enforce fairness in economic activities. Another area of regulation is for protection of the environment.

Are regulations good?

Probably some are good and some are not. How would we decide? One way is to think about the benefits and the costs of a regulation. If the benefits are greater, the regulation would be good. If the costs are greater, it may not be. There may be problems with this method, though. For example, the benefits and costs may be hard to determine. We could calculate the cost of a regulation requiring automakers to install extra brake lights on cars, but how would we calculate the benefit of fewer injuries and even deaths from wrecks that don’t happen because the lights make driving safer? Even harder to calculate would be the benefits from regulations preserving national parks. How would you value the enjoyment people experience from visiting? Even if the purely economic (counted in dollars) cost of a regulation seems high, perhaps sometimes the social benefit would still make the regulation worth keeping.

Is cutting regulations a good thing?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. If the cost is greater than the benefit, maybe we should eliminate the regulation. Or maybe not, depending on any possible intangible social benefits from the regulation. Certainly one cannot say “cutting regulations is good” without carefully considering all the costs and benefits. What do the regulations achieve? What will we gain and lose by cutting the regulation?

Your assignment

Read this article: 95 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump. Pick one of the regulations being changed or eliminated by the Trump administration. There are 95 of them to choose from. Research it. There’s some information linked to in the article, in addition to the brief description given. Decide if, in your opinion, change or elimination of the regulation is a good or bad thing. Then write about it.

You are welcome, of course, even encouraged, to consult other sources. Be sure to use high quality sources, such as scholarly journal articles, mainstream journalism, papers issued by think tanks, etc. If you don’t know whether a source you are considering is a good one, ask me and I’ll tell you if it qualifies. Then write a paper, with these requirements:

  • Minimum of 400 words
  • Times New Roman, 12 point font
  • Formal register standard English grammar
  • Double-spaced
  • “MLA-style” heading
  • In-line references to sources
  • Works cited page (I’m not going to grade you on the detail of citation formatting. I do need to be able to get to the sources you cite, so just a link is OK with me. If you use a print source, you will need to provide a full citation so that I can confidently get to it.)

I will not, of course, grade you on what your opinion is. I will grade you on how clearly and convincingly you make your case and on how well you meet the technical requirements of the assignment.

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