Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Will the State Department Follow Our Political Leaders' Call to End Job Killing Regulations on Small Business?

Both President Obama and the Republican Majority in the House have announced their desire to curb job killing regulations, particularly when they impact small business. See
http://www.cnbc.com/id/41131176 and http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47064.html

We'll find out tomorrow when the Federal Register is set to announce the renewal of the State Department's MOU with Italy whether the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has gotten the message.

The Archaeological Institute of America has been pushing the State Department to extend new import restrictions to ancient coins from Italy, even though restrictions on such common place items would only discriminate against American collectors and small businesses, who cannot realistically be expected to comply with the cultural restriction's extensive documentation requirements.

The State Department has certainly been out of touch with the President's and Republicans' calls for greater government transparency. And recent restrictions on Chinese and Cypriot coins suggest that State is equally tone deaf about the effect of its regulations on ordinary Americans.

Anyway, we should know more tomorrow.


elmo iscariot said...

I'd argue that recent restrictions on Chinese and Cypriot coins don't affect ordinary Americans much at all. The problem, from my point of view, is that government has gotten so casual about making regulations that affect _small_ numbers of Americans, that those regulations are made thousands of times a year, and it's hard for the mainstream to get worked up about any one in particular.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Elmo- Yes, those restrictions impact relatively few Americans as relatively few Americans collect Cypriot and Chinese coins. Far more collect "coins of Italian type," though. If estimates are correct, there are at least 50,000 serious collectors of that series. There are probably hundreds of thousands of more casual collectors. I guess it depends on where you sit as to whether this number is significant or not. Certainly, there are far more ancient coin collectors than archaelogists, though.

elmo iscariot said...

Don't get me wrong; I'm on your side on this one. I'm not an antiquities collector myself (my property interest in this fight is a single dirt-common denarius of Vespasian), but it's still distressing to see such uncritical support out there for "cultural property" schemes that so casually ignore property rights and the historical contributions to collectors to archaeology.

I mean to say that even though the proportion of Americans affected is small, it's still a significant issue.