This article on the FDA's propose to regulate medical-related iPhone apps got me thinking. These bureaucrats are really like marketers in a company. They are constantly coming up with growth ideas, though in the case of regulators it is ideas to growth the size and scope of their power, rather than sales, but the thought process is probably about the same.
Most new product ideas that come out of these brainstorming sessions in the private industry are a failure - they die in the conference room, or later in funding, or maybe later in the marketplace. A few survive. But at the end of the day, what matters is not how much the person who came up with the idea wants it to happen, it is whether the idea proves to be of value to the public.
Unfortunately, there is no such check on the regulatory sphere. They come up with an idea to expand power, and they just run with it and make it happen. In fact, general public opposition is generally interpreted by these folks as proof of concept - ie if people are against the new regulations, they must REALLY be necessary.
We would be better off if regulatory ideas were adopted at roughly the same rate that new products ideas are successful.