I always think of my friend Will Wilkinson as a bloodless technocrat’s bloodless technocrat, but he lives in Iowa so he’s trying his hand at campaign reporting and he turns out to be damn good at it, combining excellent prose with what I would say is a case study in the idea that perhaps more campaign reporting should be done by people with less of a politics focus:
Toward the end of the Q&A session, Cain suggests speeding domestic oil and gas production by creating a “regulatory reduction commission” that will ease regulatory control. In particular, Cain would seek the advice of energy executives whose firms’ efforts have been hindered by environmental regulation. “If you’ve been abused by the EPA like Shell Oil, I’m going to ask the CEO of Shell Oil would he like to be on this commission, and give me some recommendations. The people closest to the problem are the ones who can solve the problem.” It does not seem to occur to Cain that regulatory policy might not be improved in the public’s interest by amplifying the influence of those it is meant to regulate.
Exactly. Conservatives are, clearly, correct to think that poorly done regulation can be a problem for the country. But the knee-jerk impulse to say that we’ll make it better by handing more authority over to powerful incumbents is. odd.