Greg Norman may have retired from the PGA Tour in 2009, but he hit a hole in one this week when asked about Donald Trump's efforts to cut government red tape.
During a recent appearance on Fox News, co-host Steve Doocy asked the Australian entrepreneur whose business ventures in the U.S. 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 Norman, also known as "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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 percent 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 percent 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.
Bob Dorigo Jones is senior fellow at the Center for America, creator of the annual Wacky Warning Labels™ Contest, and the bestselling author of "Remove Child Before Folding: The 101 Stupidest, Silliest and Wackiest Warning Labels Ever." His weekly radio commentary, "Let’s Be Fair!" airs on radio stations across the United States. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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