While listening to President Obama’s speech this past week on yet more climate change regulations, I recalled Yogi Berra”s classic remark, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Who else but this president could conclude that even more EPA regulations will do anything but harm economic growth? Rather than work with Congress to find bipartisan compromise on the critical issues, the president prefers to shove another big-government, Washington centric program down our throats. Worse, the policies he is putting in place through new, onerous regulations will cause more harm than good to the average American.
There is an increasingly ideological stubbornness on both sides of the aisle in Washington, but Obama has made things worse, not better. He and his staff are quite up front in saying that he does not believe that working with Congress to enact his proposals is part of his job description. Rather his solution time and again has been simply to bypass Congress and expand the ever thickening layers of bureaucracy in his increasingly dysfunctional government.
His climate change plan is the latest in a series of executive overreach actions. Past power grabs have included excessive and expanded use of “recess appointments” throughout his bureaucracy, his feel good but ineffective new regulations on guns, and using his new powers under Obamacare to force religious organizations to offer abortion related services as part of their health insurance plans. In this case, the Clean Air Act was adopted four decades ago to control emissions, NOT to dictate which power sources the country can use, which is the goal of Obama’s latest proposal. He seeks nothing less than the elimination of coal as an energy source in America.
Worse, the bureaucrats in Washington can’t keep pace to actually implement the mountain of new regulations Obama backed initiatives have imposed on our economy. Every day brings new headlines about problems and delays in implementing Obamacare. It is not impossible to hope that the law might collapse under its own weight, given how badly many of its provisions were written. Dozens of new regulations required by Dodd-Frank have yet to be proposed, let alone implemented. And what are we to make of the IRS bureaucracy, where “low level” employees we are told cooked up a scheme on their own to selectively audit the tax returns of this Administration’s political foes. By the way, it is the IRS that is in charge of implementing much of Obamacare.
Let’s be clear: these additional regulations on carbon emissions will increase the cost of energy for every American family. Obama’s “war on coal” will cost thousands of jobs in states with average incomes below the national median. Maybe the President doesn’t care because most of those states didn’t support him anyway. Could that attitude be how the IRS scandal really unfolded? Economic growth, already on life support at a putrid 2% during the entire Obama administration, will most certainly take another jolt. Our continuing high level of unemployment, which is wiping out economic opportunity for a whole generation of Americans, is directly attributable to our overtaxed and overregulated economy.
The president would be well served to look to the states as examples of what can be accomplished by cutting back regulations to create an environment more hospitable to job creation and economic growth. States with Republican governors and legislative majorities such as Ohio, Florida, Iowa, and Michigan have seen reductions in unemployment and improved economic performance since 2010. Those states also held the line on spending and reduced taxes, policies opposite those relentlessly pursued by Obama’s Washington. Other states that continue to promote business friendly policies include Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Republican Virginia consistently outperforms Democratic Maryland. Virtually every state gaining population and new jobs are states that focus on streamlining government and job creation in the private sector, not government directed spending.
Rather than continually growing the Washington bureaucracy, the President needs to work with Congress to create policies to help the private sector create jobs in the private economy across the country, not government jobs in Washington, DC.