Looking Ahead to Fewer Barriers for Recovery

Looking Ahead to Fewer Barriers for Recovery

Scroll through the assorted blog posts on this page, or take a look at the Platte Institute website, or at our Twitter or Facebook pages, and you’ll see that we continue to look forward to helping Nebraska develop good policy in the post-COVID-19 reality.

From our first big webinar offering Policy Director Sarah Curry’s discussion with Senator John Stinner (who chairs the legislature’s Appropriations Committee); to the economic overviews of this current crisis provided by Professor Ernie Goss; to the three discussions I’ve had via webinar with national audiences–in the last week–with others working in the field of occupational licensing and regulatory reform (I’ll post links when the first two become available online–this one was done last night), my colleagues at the Platte Institute are focused on looking ahead.

While Sarah has been spending a lot of time looking at the budgetary implications of the COVID crisis (and there are likely to be great challenges ahead in the wake of reduced state revenues, huge unemployment, and likely business failures), I’ve been focusing on questions of regulatory reform (along with, and related to, my usual job licensing focus).

We’ve seen the president and governors in most states in the country unilaterally (albeit temporarily through executive orders) recognize the way that regulations can get in the way of nimble action when it is needed, and roll back regulations.

We need to look carefully at ALL regulations and job licenses, and we need to ask ourselves whether those regulations increase or decrease the ability of states and localities–and private citizens–to be flexible in the way that they address unplanned circumstances. I believe that if we take a serious look at the regulatory world that well-intentioned lawmakers have created, we’ll discover that many of those good intentions are every bit as harmful to opportunity, as they were intended to be helpful to the “health, safety and welfare” of society.

This round of COVID-19 won’t be the last emergency, but many of the roll-backs and waivers for a health care emergency (as listed by Americans for Tax Reform, who have been tracking both federal and state executive orders), could apply similarly to natural disasters like tornadoes and flood and the need for skilled trades in numerous fields. Maybe we shouldn’t look to “emergency orders” to let the market work,

It’s clear, I think, that COVID is likely to leave us with a sluggish economy, at best. We need to look NOW at how regulatory and job licensing reform might help mitigate the damage and leave us with an environment that allows entrepreneurs in all sectors of the economy to avoid some of the hurdles to get our economy jump-started. And we need to act.

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