“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw
One of the recurring themes at this week’s debate between Willard Romney and President Obama is this concept that, somehow, regulation itself -- any regulation -- tends to severely restrict commerce and has a negative effect on the economy. While such a thing is possible, the current regulatory environment tends to be the opposite of that. Republicans, and even some Democrats, have been dereguating for 40 years. It's unlikely there is much debilitating regulation left.
One of the more childish and irritating concepts the current incarnation of the Republican Party tends to push is the one that regulations are, almost by definition, restrictive and confining. They love to champion the idea that all regulations inhibit freedom, when in fact, most regulations actually enhance the freedom of business owners to engage in whatever commercial activity they desire. While rules against predatory commercial activity would keep Walmart from charging prices designed to put everyone else in town out of business, they keep everyone else in business and keep commercial activity thriving. Having a big box store displace 20 other retailers is not good for commerce. I can't believe that has to be said out loud.