What would America be like if we actually practiced laissez-faire economics? My chocolate bar would be 42% cheaper! A caller on a radio program the other day said that 42% of the cost of dairy products is due to regulatory compliance. (I have no idea where the caller came up with that number and have no facts to back it up, but as he had some loose association with the dairy industry and it fits with my preconceived notions of regulatory burdens, I’ll use it.)
If you are a communist who doesn’t care how much my chocolate bar costs, perhaps drug costs will concern you more. The regulatory burden imposed by the FDA is a contributing factor to the drug shortage we are now facing. And as even Paul Krugman could tell you, when supply goes down, prices go up.
Oh, if only high commodity prices and a sluggish economy were the only evils of over-regulation. But our regulatory state can also put elderly retirees in solitary confinement for the blasphemous deed of selling orchids. It used to be when men in SWAT gear came busting down your door you knew what evidence to flush down the toilet. Now you don’t know whether to grab your prized petunia or your student loan bills.