Dr. Eamonn Butler, over at the Adam Smith Institute's blog, offers this frightening observation:
It's official. Regulation is now Britain's biggest industry. David Arculus, the Chairman of Severn Trent Water and head of the government's Better [sic] Regulation Task Force, suggested last week that the cost of regulation to the UK economy was now more than £100 billion a year. That's more than a tenth of our gross domestic product (GDP).
That's bigger than tourism (£76 billion), or our much-vaunted financial services industry (£66 billion), or even the National Health Service (£67 billion and rising - and rising).
Well, this certainly doesn't sound like the road to prosperity. But, as one regulation-watcher says in Butler's post, politicians can't advocate knocking down some of these rules for fear of being called really big meanies. A life of public service is just full of such hardships.
I, for one, think Britain should consider combining the regulation and tourism industries, offering slots as over-zealous regulation-makers and enforcers to all of our over-zealous American big-government lovers. My apologies to all the good folks at the Adam Smith Institute, who will then have to deal with these people. I'm just brainstorming.