The Government Grinches That Stole Christmas

Brett McMahon
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Posted: Dec 24, 2011 12:01 AM

‘Tis the season for every media outlet, blog, or writer to put out a “Top List” of the year. Instead of the usual top hits or highlights of the year, it’s worth remembering why this was one of the roughest years for small business owners at the hands of our own government. Herein our own list of the Grinches that tried to replace holiday cheer with a goody bag of ill-considered, overly onerous rules and regulations and other assorted job killers this year.

NLRB Speedy Election Rule: Just in time for Christmas, the National Labor Relations Board this week published its final version of a rule that will intentionally speed up elections for employees deciding whether they want to join a union—so that employers don’t actually have time to comply with all the agency’s arcane laws and talk to their employees. The result will inevitably more people in a union who have no idea what it’s going to mean for their work lives, retirement security, and ability to advance based on their own merit.

And just to throw in its own version of gift wrapping, the same NLRB is attempting to push through a rule forcing 6 million workplaces to post “notices” that are little more than glossy advertisements for joining a union. Think Normal Rockwell shills for Teamsters.

EPA: Led by Administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA has been on an aggressive regulation push this year with rewriting air quality codes and using sustainability as argument to leverage control over business. In Texas alone new EPA rules have cost the state thousands of jobs and have halted in some cases energy production which increases the cost of gasoline. Nationwide the cost of compliance with the new EPA regulations to businesses will be in the hundreds of billions.

The Dark Angel atop the tree—ObamaCare: While not enacted in this calendar year, the costs and hidden surprises of this job killing monstrosity continue to spring forth. Once fully functional there will be a sharp increase in layoffs for employers who cannot afford to keep up with the increased costs. The repeal of this legislation is at the top of many small business owners wish list.

Gibson Guitars Raided: The Little Drummer Boy had to be thankful that he did not meet the same fate as his buddies in the guitar business. The iconic American instrument company was raided by Feds who accused the company of selling “illegal wood” that it had legally obtained. The final sour note: the government basically acknowledged the company would have an easier time manufacturing its products overseas.

Uncertainty: As business owners, we have to be planners. Profits, losses, expenses, payroll, etc all need to be mapped out and predictable so that determinations can be made about whether to expand, to hire, or to sometimes even downsize.

One of the most harmful things this Administration has done for business and jobs is to create a environment of absolute uncertainty. What new costly regulations might add to our overhead? What new taxes or mandated benefits might make the new employees unaffordable? We just don’t know, and that’s a big problem. It’s a lot having to wonder every time you make a business decision whether you’ll shoot your eye out with that brand-new Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass and this thing which tells time built right in to the stock.

If our elected representatives wanted to ring in the new year with a serious resolution for enabling economic growth led by job creation, checking this list twice—and then undoing it—would be a great gift to all those looking for a happier holiday next year.