The history of regulation in the U.S. economy shows a cumulative growth of government involvement in private enterprise that has helped business at times and has been at odds with business at other times. The wavering views on how much regulation is warranted change over time and cut across political and philosophical ideologies. For example, in the first two years of President Barack Obama's administration there was a push for new and large increases in regulation of healthcare and financial markets along with intervention into public markets with massive spending to bailout automakers and financial institutions.

Now, in the second half of the Obama term we are seeing a call for regulatory review with an eye on reducing regulatory burdens on economic growth and job creation. The purpose of this article is first to navigate through various perspectives on government regulation in an effort to develop a reasonable and consistent view for regulatory proposals. Parts II and III of this article provide a brief outline of our current regulatory environment and its evolution. Part IV presents arguments for an efficient regulation of business by using market based regulation with a separation of efficiency and equity issues, where feasible. Examples of this regulatory approach appear throughout the article along with suggested reforms.

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Copyright © 2011 University of Richmond Law Review. This article first appeared in University of Richmond Law Review 45, no. 4 (May 2011): 1059-089.

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