Since the rise of the Internet, the world has witnessed exponential levels of technological innovation. While this progress was quick to transform the American economy, Washington has struggled to keep pace. Business owners and consumers alike are frustrated with bureaucrats’ attempts to apply decades-old laws to regulate emerging technologies and new industries that could not be imagined when these laws were written.
Everyone recognizes that innovation is necessary for America to remain competitive in the 21st century global economy. In this interview, Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) talks about barriers to entrepreneurship and how the government can work with innovators to amplify—rather than inhibit—their progress.
Jared Meyer: Despite booming technological advances over the past few decades, the rate of new businesses entering the U.S. economy has fallen to a 30-year low. Why is this happening?
Representative Ratcliffe: This trend has been heavily influenced by the countless rules and regulations churned out by the federal government. The idea that expanding government’s role in the economy is necessary for economic growth does not fit with the core principles that must be employed to get ahead in the 21st century.
Pushing back against a changing economy contradicts the foundational principles of America
As Ronald Reagan famously said, the government must “foster productivity, not stifle it.” Right now, instead of opening the door of opportunity for innovators trying to create the next generation of American jobs, antiquated federal policies seal that door shut with thick layers of red tape. This is why I introduced legislation such as the All Economic Regulations are Transparent Act (H.R. 1759) and the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (H.R. 4768), which both passed in the House and would combat federal overreach and excessive regulations.
Jared Meyer: You mentioned principles that are necessary for entrepreneurship. What are these principles?
Representative Ratcliffe: They are free enterprise, limited government, and the right to self-determination. To see these principles in action, just look at the business models of sharing economy companies like Uber and Lyft. Because of technological innovation, people can now work for themselves and turn their underused assets and free time into earnings opportunities. Yet the heavy hand of government regulation continues to threaten independent work’s growth.
Additionally, the overtime rules pushed out by the Obama administration are about to go into effect. These rules will stifle opportunity for those who need it the most. Because of the Department of Labor’s push to make people punch time cards, younger Americans will have a harder time acquiring critical skills and start-ups that could become the next Microsoft or Google may find themselves unable to expand.
Pushing back against a changing economy contradicts the foundational principles of America. We should be rewarding those who...