[Editor's Note: We asked selected Xconomists a series of questions designed to zero in on the big issues of the year, including "What would you be willing to throw a punch over?"]
Regulatory overkill. We spend so much time and resources in the USA due to regulations that, while well-intentioned when conceived, are set into law due to a crisis. They are driven by emotion and the desire to protect future occurrences or to punish a minority of wrongdoers. However, in hindsight, they are usually overly burdensome, lack risk/benefit analysis, and therefore stifle innovation. The real problem is that once they become law they are nearly impossible to roll back. I would love to see an approach that identifies the most stifling of these regulations in the USA and that requires the stakeholders (regulatory body, industry, and users) to draft a completely new and modern approach to regulation every 10 years. That could help ensure that innovation can thrive and that risks and benefits are balanced.