Washington's "Alphabet Soup" Poisonous to Economy

Adam Hasner
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Posted: Dec 06, 2010 1:40 PM
Washington's "Alphabet Soup" Poisonous to Economy

A simmering bowl of alphabet soup stirs childhood memories of finding culinary comfort on a cold winter day. But as outside temperatures begin to drop and the rhetoric begins to heat up in our nation's capital, the dangers lurking in the alphabet soup of our federal government's regulatory agencies (EPA, OSHA, NLRB, and FCC to name just a few) could spell something far different for our nation’s economy: t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

After Republicans claimed massive electoral victories this November with voters revolting against the leftist agenda of the Obama administration, many Americans breathed a sigh of relief that we would no longer be force-fed a heaping helping of big government, higher taxes, and out of control spending. In January, new voices will arrive in Washington with the powerful message that the foundations of our future prosperity are rooted in the spirit of the individual, not the power of the state.

The news of divided government in Washington is welcomed since liberal Democrat’s expansionist government policies will now be d-o-a. As a result, much attention is now being focused on the Republican agenda and whether Washington will be consumed by gridlock in the lead up to the 2012 campaign. But an overlooked threat remains from the Obama administration and their leftward allies who are as determined as ever to advance as much of the very same agenda that was resoundingly rejected on Election Day.

Not long after the Democrats took their electoral “shellacking,” John Podesta, of the George Soros funded Center for American Progress, suggested that "one of the best ways for the Obama administration to achieve results...is through substantial executive authority to make and implement policy."

While we should rightfully be concerned, we shouldn't be surprised. President Obama’s top appointments have demonstrated an aggressive interventionist approach from federal regulatory agencies. Now it appears that is all the White House has remaining. Since losing a Democratic majority in the House and clinging to a diminished majority in the Senate (with nearly half its caucus members up for re-election in 2012), the Obama administration is turning its sights to the only lever of power remaining under their control -- yes, those very same federal regulatory agencies.

What the White House couldn't get passed when Democrats controlled both chambers in Congress, it is now pursuing through far-reaching administrative action in spite of the negative impacts on job creation.

For example, while the job killing cap and trade legislation was going nowhere in the Senate, and literally had a hole blown through it by West Virginia’s Senator-elect Joe Manchin, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now stealthily pushing an extensive carbon regulation scheme with as little public attention as possible and zero concern that it will eliminate jobs and raise energy costs just as the original cap and trade proposal would.

Meanwhile, with official unemployment figures reaching 9.8%, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal reports that plans are underway at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to impose tougher workplace regulation enforcement on businesses and enhance employer compliance through the use of unprecedented pressure and litigation. Increasing administrative burdens on employers and threatening increased legal action against them certainly doesn’t sound like a comprehensive plan to create jobs, except for government lawyers.

A third potential example may reveal the true arrogance of Obama's Washington. It is well-known that the top legislative priority for labor unions is the enactment of the cleverly titled Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) - otherwise known as “card check” - that would make it easier for unions to organize without secret ballot elections in the workplace. Although Congressional passage is no longer a threat, big labor (who contributed over $200 million to Democratic candidates this election cycle) is working to advance their pro-union policies through rulemaking at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB’s five-member board is dominated by Obama-appointed pro-union members, including a former top lawyer for SEIU and AFL-CIO, and could attempt to enact EFCA administratively.

A final example of an agency attempt to elude Congressional authority just emerged from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC Chairman has recently announced his intention to use the Democratic majority on the five member commission to move forward with his controversial plan to adopt innovation stifling "net neutrality" regulations in spite of strong bipartisan opposition from Congress and a recent court ruling stating that the FCC lacks the legislative authority to regulate internet traffic management. Policy decisions of this magnitude belong to the elected representatives of the people who are charged with creating public policy, not three unelected members of a beltway panel.

These are just some of the examples of how the Obama administration and their allies are currently planning to circumvent Congress and impose their distasteful agenda on an unsupportive electorate. In politics, as in football, if you are not on offense, you're on defense. Republicans in Washington, and conservative citizen action groups, must remain vigilant in the fight against these attempts to undermine Congressional authority and subvert the Constitution.

Alphabet soup may be a fun lunch for kids in winter. But the coming maneuvers by Obama-appointed members of Washington's alphabet soup of agencies are potentially devastating to our economic recovery.

Can you spell 2-0-1-2?