Friday, August 17, 2012

Regulatory Recklessness

Congress has a long history of ceding power to the executive branch. The arguments for this, that administration requires expertise and efficiency, do little to justify the surrender of Constitutional authority. Sadly, this surrender of power to unelected and too often unaccountable bureaucrats shows signs of accelerating.

Review the administrative expansion under Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama and the number of regulations issued are depressing. President Obama has a penchant for the expensive, too.
The Daily Caller

In his 2012 State of the Union speech, Obama claimed, "I've approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his."

Obama's statement was true, but skewed, because he's far outpacing Bush in the production of "economically significant" regulations, each of which imposes costs of more than $100 million per year, said Wayne Crews, a vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute.
The type of regulation certainly matters, though Obama and his supporters would rather gloss over that aspect of administrative expansion. There are annoying regulations and then there are the annoyingly costly regulations.

Also, what is costly to one regulated person or business might be a minor annoyance to a wealthier person or national corporation. For example, a requirement to post calorie data on menus (as in New York) is far more costly per customer transaction for a small chain than for a national chain restaurant. Thankfully, such regulations often include exemptions for the smallest businesses, but they are still regressive "taxes" of a sort on the regulated.

Pres. George W. Bush (the younger) oversaw more regulations in his first term than the previous two presidents — about 23 percent more than Pres. Obama has overseen. No one can claim the Republicans have a record of supporting smaller government with data like these.
Bush produced 12,587 "final rules" in his first three years, while Obama produced slightly fewer, or 10,810, "final rules," according to Crews' data, which is drawn from a federal website, http://www.reginfo.gov/public/.
Still, let us return to the costs of these regulations. Obama is the clear winner in this category.
Bush's deputies finalized 30 "economically significant" rules in his first three years, while Obama's deputies have produced 893 such rules.
Bush had 71 "economically significant" regulations under consideration in 2003 — many of which were finalized in later years — while Obama has 138 such regulations under consideration in 2011.

Bush's appointees also generated 16 final rules that have a significant impact on small business in his first three years, while Obama's appointees have produced 257 similar rules.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/24/dem-governor-claims-fewer-regulations-under-obama-than-under-bush
The chattering class likes to complain that when laws and regulations aren't being passed and approved that the Congress and White House are "doing nothing" — but that should be something to celebrate. Do we need 3,000 to 4,000 new regulations annually? I doubt it.

More importantly, these regulations produce endless red tape and slow economic growth. No business can be agile if you need a lawyer to wade through this much regulator spaghetti.

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