Free Markets, Free People
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 …