Changes to the U.S. Regulatory System Analytical Essay by GoGators

Changes to the U.S. Regulatory System
This paper outlines the three most important changes to the U.S. regulatory system in the past two centuries and provides a detailed analysis for each basis of reasoning.
# 58305 | 1,700 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2005 | US

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The past two centuries have been witness to many profound changes in the way Americans live their lives. The existence of a legislative body ensures that these changes to everyday life are properly regulated in society and that a basic tenet of American life, a free market, ultimately prevails. The writer explains that changes must be made to this regulatory system often to keep up with ever-changing times. Throughout the past two centuries, three changes in regulatory policy have had a significant influence on the system and society. It examines these three changes, which are the antitrust legislation of the early 20th century, the deregulation period from 1976-1996, and the advent of cost-benefit analysis in the late 20th century. These issues often are the response to a problem in society and are analyzed and supported with examples from each time period in this essay.

From the Paper:

"The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the ensuing Clayton Act of 1914 were ultimately a reaction to the growth of monopolies at an alarming rate, most notably the railroad and oil industries. According to Eisner, "railroad regulation and antitrust policies became two central components of the Progressive Era's market regime." (Eisner 2000, 47). As the railroad began to revolutionize intrastate travel by offering a cheap and effective way of transporting goods, rail companies realized the enormous profit implications and rapidly consolidated their companies until there remained only a few large companies responsible for rail travel all over the United States. This led to rail owners agreeing on set prices throughout the nation, since there was no competition to spur lower prices. This disadvantaged many, including small businesses that had come to rely on the railroad for transportation of their goods to market. Oil companies took a similar path, with John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust rising to be the dominant oil company. American citizens became growingly discontent with these two industries, claiming that these two monopolies breached individual rights and made competition impossible. The progression of these two industries led to the passing of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, which "committed the American government to opposing monopolies." ( Hirsch, Kett, and Trefil 2002). It outlawed any act by businesses to restrain trade or commerce. The act was largely ineffective in its early inception, due to unfavorable Supreme Court rulings. President Theodore Roosevelt's "trust-busting" campaigns saw the first successful use of the Sherman Act, with the Supreme Court affirming the government's dissolution of Northern Securities Company."

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