A few recent headlines have me thinking about one of the least discussed aspects of proposed U.S. economic policies: the old, often bad, policies already in place. These laws and regulations, which govern all sorts of government and private transactions, are particularly relevant right now in the United States, as industrial policy and economic planning are ascendant and fiscal discipline the opposite. Just this month, for example, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (which we discussed a couple weeks ago), the Biden administration released a lengthy new report urging all sorts of actions on “supply chain resiliency,” and lawmakers inched closer to a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. All come with the promise of revitalizing the economy and key industries in ways that the market won’t, yet these proposals uniformly ignore the pre-existing legal and regulatory hurdles that could turn those beautiful dreams into ugly realities.
Anyway, back to those headlines, which appeared within hours of each other on June 11: