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The Consequences of Federal Regulatory Overreach

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


Over the past ten years, Democrats have held a singular belief that almost all problems in America could be solved with more regulations and more oversight.  Team Obama came to power and a Democrat-led congress immediately pushed through reams of new regulations.  Hidden within thousands of pages of legislation for stimulus, financial regulatory reform, home mortgage reform and various small business jobs’ acts, were government regulations that are now strangling American entrepreneurship, American exceptionalism and American independence.

This perfect storm of increased regulations and increased oversight has had a ruinous effect.  For example, during the Bush Administration, Congressman Henry Waxman often pummeled the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), demanding more oversight and more regulatory reviews in an unrealistic quest to find perfect, risk-free medications. 

When Barack Obama became president, Democrat acolytes took over the FDA and implemented the strategy of excessive regulatory control that Waxman had advocated.  And what was the effect? 

New pharmaceutical development, once an American competitive edge, has slowed to a crawl and the nation is in danger of losing its leadership in new drug development. In 1996, the FDA approved approximately 45 new drugs—and the world clamored to buy American pharmaceuticals.  Now, despite larger budgets, increased manpower and more sophisticated technology, the FDA approves only 20 new drugs each year

Our competitive edge is eroding.  And, in America, the entrepreneurs that once created the world’s most innovative products have been stymied. Inventors and investors worry that no new medical product, regardless of its effectiveness, can navigate the bizarre and expensive FDA path to approval.  Americans can thank Henry Waxman for developing the strategy and they can thank Team Obama for the implementation. 

The evidence of excessive federal regulation is everywhere and certainly not limited to the FDA.  The Economist just ran a cover story, “Tangled Up In Green Tape” lambasting excessive and confusing, EPA regulations in the United States. 

In the oil and gas industry, innovation and entrepreneurs discovered new and better ways to tap oil and gas resources that were once trapped and unrecoverable.  Fracking, and other new technologies, all developed by private companies, gave our nation a new ability to recover natural gas and oil and production has boomed.  But apparently, the added domestic energy and the jobs that have been created are in jeopardy as the Obama Administration starts to marshal fringe and environmental extremists, to reduce, or shut down the new production. 

As a recent Wall Street Journal report noted, drilling permits are harder, more expensive and take longer to obtain, if at all.  The regulatory clamp is strangling gas and oil production, and Team Obama hopes to tighten it still.  Perhaps worst of all, Congressman Waxman and Congressman Markey, who apparently believe that gas prices in America are too low, have recently called for new taxes on oil and gas production and a national tax on carbon

It seems that, having crippled Americans’ edge in the development of pharmaceuticals, Mr. Waxman and Mr. Obama now have moved on to do the same to domestic oil and gas producers. 

For small businesses, the regulatory burden has become a killer.  The United States was once one of the easiest places in the world to start a new business, and our culture of entrepreneurial energy was the envy of the world. 

No longer. 

Throughout America, small companies are struggling under the new, job-killing burdens imposed by the Obama Administration., which seems oblivious to the damage it has caused. Across the nation, new, start-up companies and entrepreneurs with the next big idea are finding it increasingly difficult to attract the capital needed to fund their ventures.  Furthermore, the uncertainty that prevails when legislation is proposed, passed, challenged, and then, ultimately sent to the courts for resolution is bad for business.

Even young kids, budding entrepreneurs, are learning that setting up a simple lemonade stand requires government approvals, oversight, and permits.

The explosion in new, regulatory changes that have been pushed through by the Obama Administration are killing job growth and innovation.  Sadly, the full crippling effect of these many regulations has not yet been felt.  Week by week and month by month, more regulations are enforced that will further constrict our productive abilities. 

Democrats and Team Obama seem to believe that more government influence and increased government interference is a preferable situation.  They seem to think that all issues are improved and all problems can be made better only by government’s heavy hand.   

Some may argue that not all regulations are destructive to our economy, and they’d be correct.   But, the Obama Administration’subiquitous level of federal government involvement in almost every aspect of the lives of American citizens seems anti-democratic and certainly anti-liberty.  Government overregulation and overreach is killing our economy and destroying the entrepreneurship that built our nation. 

Have we not had enough? 

I would like to suggest our government impose an immediate moratorium on any new regulations, and consider the damage being done to this great nation.   We need to be encourage our job creators and reignite our entrepreneurial spirit.

Maybe, too, it is time for Mr. Obama to resist the most strident demands of those pushing for even more burdensome regulations from the government, and, instead go out and visit (providing the White House can locate one) a kid’s lemonade stand. 

Mr. Obama could learn a lot by talking to the kid running it. 

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