By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Whatchamacolumn: At every level, regulatory overreach strangles America

Pure and simple: Government rules, laws, mandates and regulatory overreach have strangled America.

Not “are strangling,” as has been lamented nonstop for decades, but “have strangled.”

Consider McMinnville’s zoning ordinance — all 360 pages with 30,000 words — controlling every iota of physical space we inhabit. There are so many complex rules that the city has to hire more people to enforce them, and continually is raising fees and costs to citizens who must access the regulatory system with already expensive professional help.

But that’s just a ripple in the sea of government regulation.

The Code of Federal Regulations has more than 200,000 pages, much of it so unclear and unreadable that regulators themselves can’t agree on enforcement. Here’s a February comment from The Heritage Foundation:


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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“The federal government has imposed tens of thousands of regulations on our once great manufacturing sector, grinding production nearly to a halt and racking up billions annually in compliance costs. With ‘green’ energy mandates, diversity-driven quotas, and anti-competitive rules lobbied by large unions and corporations alike to keep out both non-union labor and small businesses, American manufacturing has been crippled.

“A recent study by the National Association of Manufacturers estimated that federal regulations alone cost large manufacturers with at least 100 employees an average of $24,800 per worker annually. That’s roughly half the salary of the typical blue-collar employee. In other words, these onerous regulations increase the cost of hiring American workers by 50 percent.

“It’s even worse for small businesses with less than 50 employees, where regulation costs a staggering $50,100 per worker annually. In that case, the employer’s labor cost is now roughly doubled.”

There is constant top-down pressure: Unfunded federal mandates strangle our states; unfunded state mandates strangle our counties, cities, school districts and special districts; they in turn strangle our citizens.

From physical environment to transportation, finances to culture, business practices and all in-between, ever-evolving laws and rules create burdens that collectively exceed the intended benefits.

The financial impact of government over-regulation is like taxes: We not only have to pay our own, but whatever we buy, we have to pay the largely unrecognized regulatory costs of those service/product providers.

Benevolent government regulation is essential to the health and well-being of human civilization, particularly in a democratic system where citizens shape those rules. But bureaucracy has run amok at all levels, as David Brooks wrote for The New York Times in January:

“It’s not only that growing bureaucracies cost a lot of money; they also enervate American society. They redistribute power from workers to rule makers, and in so doing sap initiative, discretion, creativity and drive.”

This state of affairs is driving American politics hard to the right. As Brooks wrote:

“Trumpian populism is about many things, but one of them is this: working-class people rebelling against administrators. It is about people who want to lead lives of freedom, creativity and vitality, who find themselves working at jobs, sending their kids to schools and visiting hospitals, where they confront ‘an immense and tutelary power’ (Tocqueville’s words) that is out to diminish them.”

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.



OK. Then, Heritage Foundation, tell us exactly which mandates should be eliminated. Also, how and why corporations are making such good profits while under such "onerous mandates".


I agree Jim...Corporations making record profits, while paying substandard wages (that allow employees to qualify for food stamps),and at the same time paying little to no income tax.
So many regulations...boohoo!

Bill B

Well said Jeb.


Funny how all these regs have remained in place even when the R's have power.

Politicians on the right always promise deregulation, but the only regs they actually remove are environmental regs and gun safety regs...which isn't a popular stance to take.

Bill B

Hard to believe that anyone thinks we need more regulations. Tagup, do you have evidence to support your income tax claim?


Bill- there are many places to find corporate tax information online. I’m a bit surprised you haven’t heard of large companies paying low effective tax rates…. It’s been happening for years.
Try these sites:

Bill B

Tagup - You really depend on these sites for legitimate reporting? As for financials try Yahoo finance or CNBC.

Bill B

Tagup - You really depend on these sites for legitimate reporting? As for financials try Yahoo finance or CNBC.


Hard to believe the owner of the NR wants to deregulate monopolies. Especially media monopolies.


Bill- Show me your rebuttle. Facts on corporate tax rates are generally public information.

Bill B

From Finbox: "General Motors's operated at median effective tax rate of 16.3% from fiscal years ending December 2019 to 2023. Looking back at the last 5 years." Sounds like considerably more than " a little to no"


Bill- Earnings after state/local taxes & effective tax rate. Tax year 2021.

Amazon $35.1 B. 6.1%
Exxon $9.3B. 2.8%
JPMorgan Chase. $48.2 B. 5.9%
Ford Motors. $10 B. 1%
Chevron $9.5B 1.8%
Nike. $5.6 B 5.9%

Given that the Federal corporate tax rate is 21%, I’d say little to nothing is valid although I didn’t include the “ nothing “ category that includes companies like Tesla, T Mobile, AT&T Charter Communications..


Jeb, right on!! Thanks for the effort to shine light on the problem! Larry


Deregulation means “I get to poison you as long as it’s profitable.”

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