Before the Holidays, the Heritage Foundation published a report that tallied up how some specific federal, state, and local policies impact average Americans. The table below provides the answer $4,440 based on the specific policies outlined which are usually nothing but self-inflicted “dumb” policies (like the recently-lifted oil export ban).
Land use regulation and occupational licensing were the most “expensive” regulations, but the ridiculous ethanol mandate and federal sugar program are not only expensive, but harm the environment. There are plenty of other harmful policies that place untold burdens on Americans, often impacting the poorest Americans the most. I have written about New Mexico’s occupational licensure laws and their negative impacts which fall disproportionately upon the poor.
Any specific stories or policy mistakes — especially right here in New Mexico — that you’d like to see addressed? Put down a comment!
4 Replies to “How specific policy mistakes cost families $4,440 annually”
“The city council has as much influence on a person’s cost of living as the federal government.”
Indeed. I was somewhat surprised Heritage quantified and identified local land-use regulation as the most onerous of the “dumb” policies – but it is a somewhat broad category (encompassing zoning, NIMBYism, and Environmental review) which includes housing prices and deferred construction as major cost drivers. Regardless, zoning laws are very much an under-the-radar cost that is rarely discussed and worthy of more attention. While not explicitly a state regulation, I would argue all of the items in this category *are* a state issue – as imprudent local governance has longreaching effects. I, for one, would like to see more light shined on all of the bullet points in this category – especially from a NM perspective.
Thanks, good points. Not always easy to quantify based on each separate state, but it is something to consider doing. I had seen some articles detailing these costs and thought it was worth relaying the information.
Excellent observations by both Paul and Steve.
Steven Horwitz has done good thinking in this area:
Site search question: Breaking down the barriers
Paul, two things:
Can you explain more about how auto dealerships are given monopolies in NM? Is this a regulation issue? I have observed that it is often better to shop out of state for autos because prices are lower and dealers re more likely to negotiate. Many friends have also turned out of state (CO, TX, AZ) to purchase cars. So this appears to be a real cost to NM consumers.
Secondly, regarding land use in NM – one of the issues that affects business and consumers is that Planning & Zoning meetings are conducted as quasi-judicial hearings. They are treated almost as a trial with witnesses called, cross-examination allowed, public comment allowed, etc. I’ve served on a P&Z commission here and in Texas. In an hour-long meeting in Texas, we could cover a dozen or so cases, even if they were complex or if there was controversy because it was not treated as a quasi-judicial matter. In Los Alamos, we were lucky to cover 1 or 2 cases in a 3 or 4 hour meeting. That is a huge disincentive for business or individuals to develop and improve land. I believe it is NM state law that meetings are run that way.