Free Markets, Free People

Reality check: About that “regulatory review”– don’t believe it

With much fanfare, President Obama announced an executive order which directs a regulatory review that ostensibly will remove conflicting, unnecessary and onerous regulations, streamline the reporting process by moving much of it online and further, get rid of regulations that aren’t needed and are impeding business from hiring.

That’s the official line, or should I say, ‘spin’.  However, as Conn Carroll points out over at the Heritage Foundation, some context should be given this airy promise.  And when put in perspective, it again points to an administration on the one hand saying one thing and on the other doing exactly the opposite.

In fiscal year 2010, the first full fiscal year under the Obama Administration, the federal government issued 43 major new regulations. According to the Administration’s own estimates, the total cost of these rules was $28 billion. Only two of the new rules reduced measured regulatory costs, and then by only $1.5 billion. On net, the Obama Administration inflicted $26.5 billion in new regulatory costs on the economy last year, an all-time record. This was on top of the $1.75 trillion in existing regulatory costs already inflicted on the U.S. economy by the federal government.


The 2,319-page financial regulation bill requires 243 new formal rule-makings by 11 different federal agencies. The 2,700-page Obamacare bill contains more than 1,000 instances where Congress instructed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to regulate the health care industry. And, in the ultimate example of power-hungry federal regulators providing “solutions” where no problem currently exists, for the first time in the history of the Internet, the federal government will begin to regulate service providers with “net neutrality” regulations.

Message?  Take this Obama promise with a grain of salt.  It’s more posturing than reality.  Don’t believe me?  Well the devil’s in the details isn’t it?

Analysis of the EO Obama signed says nothing real will be happening, and if it does, it won’t be soon.  And then there are the exemptions:

First of all, the President’s executive order doesn’t actually require federal agencies to identify harmful regulations during the next 120 days. It merely requires that they submit a “preliminary plan” for reviewing regulations sometime in the future. This is not an order to reduce a single regulation. It is an order to plan to plan to maybe someday reduce regulations! Second, the order exempts “independent” agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Finally, even if an existing rule is found that stifles job creation, it will take years to actually repeal it. Kauffman Foundation Vice President Robert Litan tells The New York Times: “It’s more of a talking point than a policy. Even if you find a rule you don’t like, and they probably will, then they’re going to have to go through rule-making and then it’s going to take a year or two or longer.”

Triangulation has begun in earnest.  The move to the center is on.  This, like many of the administration’s programs, sounds great, but in reality it is all smoke and mirrors.  There is no real plan to identify and kill harmful regulations, there is no plan to reduce them and some of the worst offenders of onerous and intrusive regulation are exempt. 

All in a day’s work for the political propaganda machine that is the White House.  We’re now in “whatever It takes to win in 2012” whether or not it is real or even desirable, it will be promised in some form or another (just words) to make the current occupant of said White House seem more centrist and appealing.

Fool me once, shame on you …



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19 Responses to Reality check: About that “regulatory review”– don’t believe it

  • Remember, he was going to close Gitmo in one year.
    I posted a small quote from his WSJ op-ed on facebook with the comment: “Good idea. Why wasn’t this done two years ago.”
    You have to wonder what a progressive or even a moderate Dem could say to that. With a horrible recession, high unemployment, and a destroyed Federal balance sheet, making regulatory reforms was the cheapest way to get some growth started. I guess the progressives believe in regulation so much, they think quantity has a quality all of its own when it comes to the regulation of businesses.
    In addition to YouCut, the GOP should enthusiastically support Obama on this, and create a version for killing regulations. Let’s see if Obama will walk the walk. I doubt it.
    Did he ever cut that 100 million he said he would?

  • Regulations increase no matter which party is in charge.  The purpose of any bureaucracy is to increase it’s scope, power, and funding at all times, and they all do it.

    It might be necessary sooner of later to issue a law that subjects all existing regulations to a court challenge and a strict cost/benefit analysis.  Otherwise all commerce, and society itself might choke on the billions of Federal regulations.

    • They can game the cost-benefit analysis, or slide it through with emotional appeals…”one person once got cancer from maybe being near this chemical…we must regulate it.”

    • What is the old quote?  “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the growing bureaucracy.”  To me, the biggest worry about expanding the regulatory power of the government is that it will be more of the kind of regulatory oversight that gave us Fannie and Freddie’s Greatest Hits: The Gift That Keeps On Taking.

      • But, but…  They TOTALLY revamped regulation of the financial markets just months ago.
        Oh, and the two biggest banking-whores in America…Bwarny Frank and Chris Dodd…wrote the multi-thousand-page law (but not really…it was written…like ObamaCare…by special interest “brights”).
        I am SOOOO comforted…

  • Gee….every couple years for one hundred years.

  • So the idea is to regulate regulations by making a new regulation. Makes sense to me.

  • Speaking of reviews – how’s the agency review thingie that he ordered back in 2009 coming?  You know, that one where he had every Federal employee coming up with plans to  reduce spending and eliminate waste?

    • You want to know how well the latest review is going to go kids?  There’s the blueprint for the new plan…..

    • In addition, Obama said he will provide incentives for agencies to eliminate wasteful spending by allowing them to reinvest a portion of the savings in programs that work.

      I think I can see the problem … what does a federal employee get as an “incentive” ?

  • As I said, hoping to be wrong…
    just theater.
    The man cannot pivot.  The pathologies and dogma are too deep, and he is not nearly as talented as Clinton in retail politics.
    More hardship for our economy, and more suffering for real people.

    • Clinton believed he wanted to be in power and understood he actually had to listen to us sometimes to stay there.
      Obama believes he should be in power because he’s Obama.  There’s a difference there.

  • To get a true sense of how bogus this effort is, and probably will be, today is half way point of the Obama Presidency.
    It took him 2 full years to figure out that any sort of regulatory review might be helpful.  The only way this is truly meaningful is if Obama and his staff figured out somewhere, a long time ago, that they would do all the things to create jobs preceding his re-election bid, so they wouldn’t have to worry about “peaking too soon.”

    • Who (besides millions of non-Democrats) saw this coming …

      WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is preparing to increase the use of military commissions to prosecute Guantánamo detainees, an acknowledgment that the prison in Cuba remains open for business after Congress imposed steep new impediments to closing the facility.

      It took two years for them to agree with Bush on this too.

  • Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggested in an interview published today that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health.

    This is interesting. Some stones deserve to be left “unturned”

    • Puzzling isn’t it…Just two years ago, they knew exactly where it was, now they can’t quite lay their hands on it.
      One would think it would have been set aside and taken care of in a special way, what with all the controversy.  You wouldn’t think they’d have to ‘find’ it again would you.
      But I agree, perhaps we should leave it unturned, the complications are horrendous to contemplate.

  • Apropos of the apparent con game The Dear Golfer is playing,  I saw a front-page headline in a major daily (can’t recall which one) a day or two ago that asked the question:


    The thrust of the article appears to be that he is just so doggone pragmatic that it’s hard to figure out what he REALLY believes in.  Those of us on the right who aren’t blinded by the hype know that, to put it bluntly, the f*cker will say anything so you can’t believe anything he says.

    The left, unfortunately, lacks the critical thinking skills needed to get beyond the legend that’s been carefully built up around and about him.  When lefties hear him say that he’s going to back off regulating eeeevil Big Businesses, they are puzzled because, in their puny minds, him saying he’s going to do something is the equivalent of him actually doing it.  They are bewildered: “How can he do such a thing???  He’s one of us!!!  But… maybe… maybe… we don’t REALLY know who he is.  Maybe he really ISN’T one of us!  Or… No, that can’t be right.  He’s just being ‘pragmatic’, which means really smart.  That’s OK.”

    Let’s face it: these idiots remain convinced that he got us out of Iraq, will get us out of A-stan, will create millions of green jobs, and will balance the budget… someday.  If the evil reichwing teabaggers will let him, that is.

    He is just like “Dave” except Dave was a lot savvier and much less self-centered.
    Obama must be spending a lot of time thinking … What would Dave do ?