Sunday, March 26, 2006

I wonder how many other regulatory agencies are completely useless...

Via this post, I discovered this post, which contains this:
My column barely mentions one important part of the story--the regulatory environment. At first, containerization grew through cracks in the rigid regulatory structure of the 1960s. But today's fully integrated systems became possible only after trucking and rail were deregulated in the 1970s and maritime rates were deregulated (to very little fanfare) in 1984. Assumptions about transportation regulation have changed so radically that reading about the bad old days seems like science fiction.
As Levinson said in our interview, "Nobody even remembers what the Interstate Commerce Commission used to do. But you’ve probably been in the old ICC building on Constitution Avenue in Washington. It had a choice spot in Washington. Important agency, important location, big building. This was a key federal agency. And it spent its time hearing arguments about whether this truck line ought to be able to carry cigarettes in the same trucks as it carried textiles or whether the rates that were being charged to carry pretzels were adequate. People have trouble remembering that today."
So back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the ICC had a bunch of people in suits deciding how trucking companies could operate, and they all felt important, like they were looking out for the American consumer. I wonder how many other similar regulatory agencies exist that, upon ceasing to exist, would result in a noticeable increase in liberty and prosperity. I'm guessing there are dozens, if not hundreds (especially if you go state-by-state!).

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