Time Essay: How to Regulate the Regulators

What an absurd idea—a guardian to need a guardian!—Plato's Republic

Gerald Ford, presiding over a republic somewhat less ideal than Plato's, disagrees. Last week, as part of his war on inflation, he urged the creation of a "National Commission on Regulatory Reform" that could indeed act as guardian of the guardians—the deeply entrenched, highly independent federal agencies that regulate everything from the air waves to pipelines. The commission's task will be formidable: to identify and eliminate the hodgepodge of antiquated rules that in Ford's words, "increase costs to the consumer without good reason in today's economic climate."

Such a housecleaning is long...

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