On Nov. 2 voters go to the polls. Most forecasters predict danger for the political party now in control of the White House and Capitol Hill.
The economy remains troubled, and the housing market a mess. The unemployment rate is too high. Few know the tab for reforming health care. And many arenât thrilled about our two allies, Afghanistan and Turkey.
I have an additional reason for the dour mood of the electorate â undue regulation.
A flood of mandates from politicians and bureaucrats, flowing down from the faraway peaks of power to the lowly below, they who must obey and live with them. Petty, but corrosive, incursions into the economic freedom that supports a vibrant society.
When taken alone and in the abstract, they sometimes make policy sense. Trouble arises in their rigid application, unplanned compliance costs and cumulative deadening effect on business expansion.
For example, take just our sector of the economy, agriculture.
We have an Environmental Protection Agency making it exceedingly difficult for a grower to use the very crop protection tools that it has itself registered for use to combat agricultural pests and diseases.
Further restrictions loom related to use-permits near any water, no tolerance for drift, and endangered species protections â all amounting to a legal quagmire.
We have the Food and Drug Administration on the verge of enjoying vast new powers to regulate food safety on every fruit and vegetable operation in this country. Every commercial grower will need site assessments and record-keeping systems, and be subject to third-party audits.
We have an Internal Revenue Service empowered to demand forms from every grower who pays more than $600 to a supplier of goods.
We have Immigrations and Custom Enforcement spending its resources to raid peaceful farms for allegedly hiring undocumented workers, while murderous activity happens daily at the actual border.
We have a U.S. Department of Agriculture that promotes âsustainabilityâ and âlocal farmers marketsâ when the first is indefinable and the second, while nice, is an unrealistic means of delivering the bulk of food to a country of more than 300 million citizens, spread across thousands of miles and subject to wide swings of weather.
If there should be a wave election on Nov. 2, do not omit from the list of reasons the mountain of regulations now crushing the spirit of those who every day attempt to produce the food and other items that make for a free and healthy economy.
Chris Schlect is president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, Wash.