The American Consumer Institute hosted a panel discussion yesterday on Capitol Hill to discuss the economic impact of recent federal initiates to regulate some private industries and deregulate others.   “The markets can fail, but so can public policies.  The trick is to fully evaluate the costs versus the benefits.  Without that evaluation, regulations in the name of the “public interest” could ultimately harm consumer’s welfare,” said Steve Pociask of the American Consumer Institute.


Congress is considering budget cuts and the President has signed an executive order that requires federal agencies to make sure any regulations are benefiting consumers.  The panel discussed the impact of these latest moves on American consumers, including analysis of the insurance industry and the broadband/wireless industries, both of which have been subject to recent regulatory action.


“The type of insurance that most individuals buy for themselves is, by definition, inseparable from its regulation. Government has an obligation to perform its regulatory functions well. But, in all too many cases, governments have attempted to achieve other ends–many of the ultimately harmful to the public–through regulatory policies,” said Eli Lehrer, Vice President of the Heartland Institute.


In addition to Lehrer, speakers at the panel included Robert Shapiro, Chairman of Sonecon LLC; Clifford Winston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute; and Jeffrey Eisenach, managing director and principal at Navigant Economics.