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Obama's Regulatory Tsunami More Destructive than Taxes

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

As Obama travels about the country, speaking of the need  for  “shared sacrifice” and the need to increase taxes, he doesn’t say a word about the tsunami of new Obama regulations ranging from light bulbs to ozone pollution to painkillers to foreign travel to vending machines that is about to hit America.  Their impact will be huge and do serious damage to our economy. 

Obama's regulatory tsunami began during his first month in office and has continued relentlessly since.  Each week, new, more intrusive rules are rolled out, some through Executive Order, but many issued from federal agencies, often without any fanfare or publicity.  In every month since his inauguration, President Obama has heaped regulations on unsuspecting Americans, non-profit organizations, large and small businesses.  

You can argue that some of these new regulations are not destructive to our economy, but just look at the number of regulations.   Their range, their grasp and their intrusiveness into American life is staggering.  And to think, several thousand new pages of new regulatory guidelines and added bureaucracy are still being drafted by the Obama Administration as required by healthcare, recovery act, financial reform, small business and TARP legislation.  These new regulations will be piled atop the Mt. Everest pile of regulations Obama has already produced.

January 2009-Housing Voucher regulations

February 2009-PLA (Project Labor Agreements) forcing government contractors to provide bids that show union labor as a component.

March 2009-Stem Cell regulations

April 2009-Hedge Fund regulations

May 2009-EPA issues new fuel standards

June 2009-Regulations issued to influence Venture Capital activity

July 2009-EPA Training requirements for workers on building renovation projects

August 2009-E-Rule (electronic rulemaking) regulation

September 2009-EPA issues ozone pollution regulations

October 2009-Greenhouse gas reporting requirements

November 2009-Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) regulations

December 2009-Natural Gas Pipeline safety regulations

January 2010-Visa regulations

February 2010-Organic Foods Program regulations

March 2010-Credit Card regulations

April 2010-Residential Water Heaters regulations

May 2010-Coal Ash regulations

June 2010-Truth in Lending regulations

July 2010-Revised ADA regulations

August 2010-Bedbugs and Pesticide regulations

September 2010-Portland Cement regulations

October 2010-Truck regulations

November 2010-Perfume / Fragrance regulations

December 2010-CAFE standards, MPG regulations

January 2011-New Cuba Travel regulations

February 2011-"Conscience protection" rules for health care providers

March 2011-Menu and Vending machine rules issued

April 2011-Tougher Painkiller regulations

This ubiquitous level of federal governmental involvement in almost every aspect of the lives of American citizens seems anti-Democratic and certainly anti-liberty.  Worse, Obama’s regulatory activities reek of a know-it-all, know-better-than-you kind of attitude that's un-American and certainly hostile to the laissez-faire kinds of policies that, in the past, spurred our nation to grow. Obama is championing an unabashed and rather dramatic new growth in government’s influence and control over virtually every aspect of our lives. 

Regulatory reform is desperately needed in the federal government.  For example,it takes some 7 years for the federal government to construct a new building because of the difficulty navigating all the time-consuming and expensive regulations.  An astute leader would be willing to reduce the stifling bureaucratic process and regulatory regime that throttles all infrastructure projects in the US.  In this way, projects could hire builders and construction teams more quickly; projects would be completed faster, at less cost too. But that is not what Obama does.

Instead, in January 2011, after a mind-boggling two years of ever greater strangulation of the economy through regulation, Obama does lip service to the idea of regulatory reform and calls for a top-down review of all federal regulations to determine which, if any, need to be reformed.  And then, in typical, hypocritical, Obama-contradictory fashion, he delivers a State of the Union Address a week later that adds no less than a dozen, new regulations that he wants to impose on Americans.

The Obama Administration does not seem to understand that federal regulations have a cost, both in implementing and reporting as well as a cost in lost opportunity.  Many of these regulations are shrouded in smugness and imply that the regulations are intended to make us into better people-- and that somehow those in the Obama Administration know what criteria are important to make us better people. Unbelievable!

Innovation, competitiveness, job creation and economic growth have traditionally been the hallmark of our great nation. But the effect of these new, governmental regulations will throttle those once uniquely American virtues.  Permanently higher unemployment, less rapid business creation leading to far less innovation will be the result.   Our economy is going to continue to be smothered, and small businesses will continue to be strangled until a new, and more capable, national leader emerges to roll back the self-imposed regulatory destruction that Obama has unleashed. 

On the other hand, for any company that manufactures red tape, this is going to be a bumper year. 

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