Before the American Management Association’s First National Forum on Business: Problems and Approaches to Obtaining Regulatory Reform

by James C. Miller on December 2, 1976
by James C. Miller

It is a privilege for me to participate in this First National Forum on Business, Government and the Public Interest. Appropriately, a variety of topics are being discussed. Yet, one is struck by the sizable portion of the program devoted to questions of government regulation. This too is appropriate, since Federal regulation is becoming an increasingly pervasive phenomenon and is becoming more and more subject to critical review.

As I tell my staff, regulation is a “growth industry.” To use just one index of regulatory activity, between 1955 and 1975, the number of pages published annually in the Federal Register rose from just over 10 thousand to in excess of 60 thousand.  More importantly, it took 15 years for the number of pages to double, but only five years to triple. This means that between 1955 and 1970, the compounded rate of growth was just under five percent annually; but between 1970 and 1975, the rate of growth was nearly 25 percent.  It is not surprising that with this acceleration in activity, regulation is being taken more seriously and is being viewed more critically. Today ivory-towered academics and harassed businessmen are being joined by consumer groups and politicians in questioning the basic tenets of regulation and the efficiency of regulatory institutions. We have witnessed a Presidential campaign where both major party platforms called for regulatorv reform and where both major candidates campaigned on an anti-Washington theme.

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