Burdensome regulations that are confusing to get out of are very costly for a small business or an entrepreneur. They cannot afford to hire a team of lobbyists in Washington to find a loophole in the system or ensure their waiver application is approved quickly. Big businesses can do that. Unaccountable Washington bureaucrats exercising their discretionary authority is, therefore, a huge competitive advantage for big business and a hurdle to entrepreneurship.
Lobbyists are not just getting waivers for big business from Obamacare. Last month, the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began enforcing new rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new or expanding power plants. Last week, the EPA issued its first waiver. General Electric, shortly after its CEO Jeff Immelt agreed to head President Obama’s outside panel of economic advisors, received that waiver.
Lobbying is a right protected by the first amendment, which states Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievance. It’s an important protection and there is nothing inherently wrong with the work lobbyists do on behalf of the powerful. The real problem is the federal government has gotten so big – spending nearly $4 trillion per year, taxing over $2.5 trillion per year, and imposing over $1 trillion a year in regulations – that the average American can no longer get his voice heard.
If you’re big in America and you have a grievance with government you hire a high priced lobbyist to get it fixed. If you dream of one day being big, you’re left screaming until your frustration becomes a movement which washes the establishment out of Washington. Sen. Harkin’s 400 lobbyist friends should keep that in mind.