“It’s About Bloody Time” To Cut Excessive Government Regulation

GregNormanGreg Norman may have retired from the PGA Tour in 2009, but he hit a hole in one recently when asked about Donald Trump’s efforts to cut government red tape.

During an appearance on Fox News, co-host Steve Doocy asked the Australian entrepreneur whose business ventures in the US include golf apparel, wine, restaurants and water parks: “What do you make of President Trump fulfilling campaign promises to roll back regulations to make it easier for guys like you in business to do business?”

“It’s about bloody time!” replied the Shark without hesitation.

Leave it to a straight-talking Aussie to tell Americans just how overdue we are for an overhaul of our bloated bureaucracy.

While many Americans have accepted an ever-expanding government as such an ordinary part of our lives that watching Congress pass more regulation is as predictable as watching the azaleas bloom in April at Augusta, others like Norman who are out there taking risks and creating jobs believe it’s time to prune back regulation.

To understand Norman’s passion on this issue, it’s important to understand just how burdensome the regulatory system in the United States has become. Only when we can comprehend the true cost of complying with government regulations can we fully understand why reform is needed so desperately today.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that the total cost of complying with all the federal regulations each year is a whopping $1.8 trillion. To put that into perspective, complying with regulations costs more than all the money the federal government collects from individual ($1.4 trillion) and corporate ($341 billion) income taxes combined.

And, if your big-government Facebook friends need more evidence that bureaucratic red tape has gotten too out of hand, there’s this: when you look at the value of all the goods and services produced by every country around the world, only eight countries have a GDP that exceeds the cost of regulation in the United States.

That’s right. If US regulation was a country, it would be the ninth largest country in the world!

It costs more for businesses, charities, associations and everyone else in the US to comply with federal regulations than the value of everything created in Canada (GDP of $1.78 trillion) in one year. Australia has a very respectable GDP of $1.45 trillion per year, too, but our regulatory burden looks like a whale compared the total economic output of the Shark’s native country.

When we understand the true cost of excessive government regulation, we can also begin to see it’s not just businesses that see this as a major issue but that teachers, doctors and many others want relief, too.

A national survey of public school teachers found that the percentage of teachers who perceive they have low autonomy in the classroom rose by a whopping 44% in a recent eight-year period. Teachers have less autonomy these days because of a myriad of new government regulations aimed at increasing student test scores and making schools more accountable.

Of course, everyone wants to raise student performance, but some experts believe that by placing too many regulations on teachers, government is choking their ability to be creative. A little less red tape governing how classrooms run could help schools retain the best teachers and attract new ones to the profession.

And doctors? When 14,000 medical doctors from a wide variety of specialties were surveyed to identify their levels of professional happiness, more than half of them said they feel burned out in their job. That’s a 25% increase from just four years ago. The main reason they feel burned out is that they have too many bureaucratic tasks.

When our physicians start listing bureaucratic burnout as their number one reason for being unhappy, that’s especially troubling. Doctors with a reduced feeling of well-being and satisfaction can have lower concentration, and that can lead to problems making the right diagnosis and other medical errors.

It’s time to cut the red tape. But if you won’t listen to me, listen to former President Bill Clinton’s golf buddy, Greg Norman. It’s about bloody time.

Georgia Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely To Bring Longer Waits At Doctors’ Offices

It wasn’t a good day Monday for either doctors or their patients in Georgia.  The Georgia Supreme Court struck down a five-year-old law that had been enacted by the state legislature to bring more stability to the health care system.

The Georgia high court ruled that a 2005 law placing a cap of $350,000 on pain and suffering awards in medical liability lawsuits is unconstitutional.  Because of this ruling, Georgia is now one of only 20 states that do not have these caps according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In a previous post, I noted that a study by Brigham Young University concluded that doctors spend less time on the job if they practice in a state where it’s easier for them to be sued.  Unfortunately, the decision by the Georgia Supreme yesterday makes it much easier for doctors to be sued for huge verdicts, so when we look at the large picture, patients are as likely to bear the brunt of this ruling as doctors.

Over the past two decades, the majority of states have enacted caps on these hard-to-define pain and suffering awards because reasonable caps have been considered by many experts to be the best way to reverse the trend of runaway jury verdicts.  Enormous jury awards had pushed up the cost of doctors’ liability insurance so high that many doctors had chosen to retire or move to states with more favorable laws.

Most news reports on this decision have failed to point out that even before the Georgia Supreme Court decision, there were NO caps on damages that victims could receive for economic damages that pay for needed medical care and lost wages.

It’s the unlimited non-economic damage awards that have turned many courts into lawsuit lotteries, and that’s why plaintiff lawyers like John Edwards who have gotten rich suing doctors in states that allow unlimited pain and suffering awards are praising this verdict.