Opinion

The GOP Shouldn’t Be Growing The Regulatory State

George Landrith President, Frontiers of Freedom
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Ronald Reagan famously observed, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

President-elect Donald Trump just trounced a tax and spend liberal, and ran against business-as-usual political elites in Washington, D.C.  Taking a page out of Reagan’s successful playbook, Trump has promised lower taxes and reduced regulation as a means to greater economic growth, and more and better paying jobs.  The recent stock market rally since Trump’s election is compelling evidence that the markets believe this will be a successful formula for getting the economy rolling again.

Nevertheless, even after voters resoundingly voted for change, some Republican elites have yet to get the message.  On Thursday December 8, Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, held a hearing on Mixed Martial Arts.  This was done at the request of fellow Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) who believes that Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are underpaid, should form a union, and should have government bureaucrats decide who fights whom and when.

Yes, you read that right — Rep. Mullin wants government to be a fight matchmaker and determine rankings and match-upsThe hearing is being billed as a routine session to examine the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, but the truth is that the ultimate goal is to build the case for government regulation of the wildly popular sport.

After eight years of economic stagnation and the unchecked growth of government — those two things are closely related — there are a lot of problems that Congress could be focusing on.  However, Rep. Mullin wants Congress to take over MMA fights and begin regulating them.

Make no mistake.  Now that the sport is successful, this hearing is more about political vendettas and settling old scores than anything else.  Sadly, the chummy club on Capitol Hill appears to be happy to oblige.  Rep. Mullin is a former MMA fighter who never made it big.  He is now a Congressman using his power to obtain a grudge match.

MMA is a huge success because of good old-fashioned American ingenuity and entrepreneurship along with a healthy dose of hard work.  MMA has succeeded in the marketplace where boxing has largely failed because the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) — the most well-known organization that promotes and governs MMA fights — created unified rules recognized throughout the world, and has created a structure that ensures that fans are in the driver’s seat, and see the match-ups they want most.

This success has created dozens of millionaires, created untold direct and indirect jobs, and is providing an outlet for men and women whose athletic careers may have otherwise been over after their college wresting or Olympic judo careers ended.

Rep. Mullin and his compatriots are doing the bidding of liberal trial lawyers who have sued the leading MMA promoter.  These lawyers are not creating jobs and opportunity and are not fighting for the little guy.  Instead, they want to enrich themselves and are happy to enlist the help of some hapless and disgruntled congressmen to do it.

The Subcommittee is the Manufacturing and Trade” subcommittee.  One would hope, particularly after this election, that they would be focused on reducing regulations and creating jobs.  Instead, this hearing is about expanding the role of the federal government by regulating MMA.  These members of Congress are wasting valuable time and taxpayer dollars targeting an American success story.  If they were truly aware of the irony of their actions, they would be ashamed.

MMA is popular and successful which is why, as Reagan stated, government is inclined to regulate it.  Big Government has already ruined too many industries.  They should spare us from another helpful” congressional big-government regulatory intervention.  When President-elect Trump talks about draining the swamp in Washington, he might want to start by looking at a prominent source of some of the rankest regulatory stench that will soon be emanating from the House Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee.

 George Landrith is the President of Frontiers of Freedom as well as an MMA Fan.