While Congress should use its oversight powers to curb "renegade regulators," overzealous efforts toward regulatory reform could lead to "a headlong plunge into detegulatory overkill," Federal Trade Commission Chairman Michael Pertschuk said yesterday.
In a speech to the National Press Club, Perschuk cited continuing efforts by his agency not to regulate, but to become "champions of the amrketplace; advocates of fair and open competition as an alternative to regulation."
Pertschuk acknowledged that there is widespread support for regulatory reform, owing largely to government intervention in the marketplace "too often [having] been ill-conceived and clumsy, poorly scoped and structured, carelessly and inflexibly administered and needlessly burdensome."
The entire deregulation movement is really a justified reation to "regulatory iatrogenesis," that fact that the government's proposed cures may be killing the very marketplace they are designed to save, Perschuk contended.
He said the FTC is attempting to "pare back elaborate and burdensome proposals," and at the same time trying to "improve the responsiveness of the marketplace to consumer demands... by the least costly, most effective means possible."
He said that the "ill repute of the regulators has already, for the most part, led to tough-minded re-evaluation and reform."
Pertschuk said the FTC must bear the burden of justifying its interventions in the marketplace by showing it is taking the least costly, most effective means available to improve the responsiveness of the marketplace to consumer demands.
He cited several examples of his agency's attempt to deal with the new cost-effectiveness philosophy of regulation, including extensive planning and ubdgeting processes through which key FTC personnel target areas which "promise the highest payoff for competition and consumers."
He also cited the agency's monthly policy review sessions publishing contemplated rules in the Regulatory Calendar's semiannual agends and systematic evaluation of he economic effects of FTC actions.
"The regulatory agencies have become the Capitol's new red-light district, condemned by indignant business leaders by day and patronized by some of the best of them at night," Pertschuk said.