Regulatory Policy Must Do More Good Than Harm

The U.S. manufacturing sector has been a key driver of economic success. It contributes 12 percent of U.S. GDP and supports about one in six private sector jobs (18.5 million).

But the U.S. also faces growing challenges in an increasingly competitive global economy. Large swaths of the American economy have been distorted by regulatory mandates and incentives, with an average of 3,500 new federal rules each year contributing to an invisible tax on the order of $2 trillion annually by some estimates.   

U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers have spent billions of dollars on regulatory compliance and are estimated to spend billions in new capital expenditures over the next decade. Poorly-designed regulations can cause more harm than good, stifle innovation, discourage growth, limit job creation, waste limited resources, undermine sustainable development and, ultimately, erode the public’s confidence in government.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Do More Good Than Harm: The benefits of regulations must justify the costs, and the most cost-effective approach should be used.
  • Sound Science: Regulatory decisions should be based on the best available scientific and technical information.
  • Transparency: Agencies should disclose data to the public early, outline key information used in high-impact rulemakings and provide adequate opportunity for public input.
  • Streamline the Permitting Process: The federal permitting process for siting or upgrading facilities or projects must be modernized to be timely, certain and efficient.
  • Retrospective Review of Rules: There should be an institutionalized, retrospective review to streamline and simplify existing rules and to remove outdated and duplicative rules. This should include an analysis of regulatory requirements and their necessity, as well as an estimation of their value.
  • Accountability: The president should direct all regulatory agencies to implement the preceding recommendations. Congress should elevate these principles into binding law.


Related: Regulatory Burden Graphic (PDF)