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Monday, 20 March 2017 17:28

Trump tries to cut back the regulatory kudzu

Written by  Bruce Yandle, contributor

In the 1930s, the federal government subsidized the planting of kudzu, a fast-growing Asian plant that reduced the soil erosion problems plaguing farmers in America's more humid states. In all, it is said some 70 million seedlings were planted under the government program.

Kudzu was a regulatory intervention to address a serious problem. It's also a perfect illustration for how well-meaning regulations—some of which are facing scrutiny in Washington today—can take on lives of their own.

Kudzu vines grow so rapidly, as much as 60 feet in a growing season or two feet a day, that soon those eroded fields that had been unfit for the plow became vine-covered fields that could not be plowed.

The vines recognized no fence lines. Along with farmers' fields, everything was fair game, including telephone poles, abandoned homes and barns, and even unpaved roads and byways. Eventually, in 1997, after 40 years of kudzu conquest, Congress placed the vine on the federal noxious weed list. It is now being poisoned. In spite of the effort to take back the soil, kudzu still prevails in many areas.

President Trump has now decided to cut back on regulatory kudzu, a vine of red tape that grows even faster than kudzu: The many rules that have been planted over the years, some of which have grown so fast that they have stifled the very economy they were supposed to protect, or have grown over economic fence lines into places they were never supposed to be.

Read more at WashingtonExaminer

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