On Wednesday, when President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney share the stage in Denver, we will learn whether the debates will play the same outsized role in the presidential campaign as they did in the primary.
Although foreign policy – until recently viewed as a strength for President Obama – drove the news cycle last month, the first debate will focus exclusively on domestic policy. On this front, there is a huge opening for conservative policies. Not only could those policies fix the problems created by decades of big government but they could also appeal to voters who are frustrated with what has become a dreadful and un-American new normal.
Rather than defend his administration’s regulatory overreach, President Obama has often accused his detractors of wanting dirty air and unsafe water. The insincere implication is that any attempt to rollback Obama-era regulations will result in pollution-induced deaths at the pandemic rates we saw during the previous decade. While President Obama’s alternate reality requires a sharp rebuke, a thorough explanation of the damage caused by his regulations is also essential.
Regulations increase cost and create uncertainty. Manufacturing jobs are leaving the country for a variety of reasons, but one is the increase in electricity costs, as coal plants are being forced to close thanks to crippling EPA regulations. Businesses are sitting on piles of cash for numerous reasons too, but one is the uncertainty over what their health insurance costs and liabilities will be come 2014.
Equally as important is explaining the truly insidious aspects of regulations that frequently go unnoticed. Those harmed the most by the regulations are the little guys, who have neither the time to lobby Washington’s regulatory czars nor the means to hire the accountants and compliance officers. Remember, the big guys already have armies of lawyers, lobbyists, accountants and strategists who are either influencing the regulations or finding the next loophole.
While President Obama and his allies continue to distort Obamacare’s impact on Medicare and the nature of conservative reform efforts, there is a compelling case to be made that real reform will save taxpayers money, produce better results for seniors and create a system that endures for our children and grandchildren.