Poll: Vast majority believe businesses and consumers are over-regulated

posted at 5:25 pm on September 12, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The president was three-quarters of the way through his jobs speech last week before he explicitly mentioned the word “regulations” — and, when he finally did, it was to disparage concerns about over-regulation, to suggest that those who advocate regulatory rollback don’t care about safety or honesty in business.

But the American people perceive the regulatory environment somewhat differently than does the president. Three quarters — 74 percent — of voters throughout the country believe that businesses and consumers are over-regulated, according to a Public Notice poll released today. And they strongly suspect that much of that over-regulation has been implemented recently: 67 percent believe that regulations have increased over the past few years.

In fact, they’re right. The rate at which regulatory burdens are growing has accelerated under the Obama administration, according to a Heritage Foundation backgrounder. During its first 26 months, the Obama administration imposed 75 new major regulations with reported costs to the private sector exceeding $40 billion. During the same period, six major rulemaking proceedings reduced regulatory burdens by an estimated $1.5 billion — for a net increase of more than $38 billion.

“No other President has burdened businesses and individuals with a higher number and larger cost of regulations in a comparable time period,” Heritage’s James Gattuso and Diane Katz write. “President Bush was in his third year before new costs hit $4 billion. President Obama achieved the same in 12 months.”

Since the time of that report, the president has paid a bit more lip service to the idea of eliminating burdensome regulations, complying with Boehner’s call for a review. (The president takes full credit for this in his jobs speech, but, to my recollection, Boehner had to poke and prod Obama to provide the list of costly regulations.) The president also sensibly rejected expensive and likely-to-be-ineffective air quality standards. But it’s clear from the tenor of his speech that regulatory reform will be kept at a minimum.

Unfortunately, while voters understand regulations have increased recently, they don’t understand that the executive branch is exclusively to blame. A majority say that Congress creates regulations, when, in fact, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats do. No wonder the American people think that, though. After all, legislating is the responsibility of the legislative branch — and not the province of the executive branch.

But the American people’s misconception about who writes regulations means constituents won’t be calling Congressional offices anytime soon to demand Congressional oversight of regulation. Still, that doesn’t mean the American people don’t want Congress to approve regulations before they go into effect. In fact, 65 percent favor a requirement that regulations be approved by Congress and the President before they are enforced.

I’ve written before about the REINS Act, which would introduce just such a requirement. It’s a piece of legislation I hope Republicans will strongly continue to push. They should rest easy knowing they have the firm support of the American people, who not only want the executive branch out of the legislature, but also connect the dots between an environment of over-regulation and their own lives. A final few key findings from the Public Notice poll:

A majority (56%) agrees that “more government intervention and regulation to the process of overseeing business means you have less accountability because everyone assumes someone else is in charge”, while only 38% agree more that additional regulation leads to more accountability because of the increased number involved in oversight.

One of the highest points of agreement in the survey is the fact that 73% concur that “every time the federal government mandates a new regulation on America’s large and small business, the prices of American made good and services like gasoline and food go up.”  Only 22% supported the view that “while many federal regulations might be just another burden to operations of America’s large and small businesses, customers do not see major cost increases for American made goods and services like gasoline and food.” …

Voters also see a personal connection to new regulations, with majorities saying they are negatively impacted from regulations ranging from those that try to control the banking and financial industry (59%) to those that tell American businesses which workers they can hire (57%) to regulations that dictate what light bulbs Americans must purchase (60%).  A majority of both conservatives (61%) and liberals (54%) say they are negatively impacted by regulations that tell American businesses which workers to hire.

The president said he refuses to believe the jobs crisis comes down to a choice between “jobs” and “safety” — and the American people don’t think it comes down to that choice, either. Solid majorities say they are positively impacted by rules that require certain safety levels for drinking water (72 percent) or require controls to ensure better safety at schools and in the workplace (66 percent). So when the American people refer to over-regulation and when they say regulations affect them negatively, they’re not referring to safety regulations. Obama had better heed that we’d like fewer of them and we’re not fooled by his false dichotomy.


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Golly! Another of Obama’s Titanic successes.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on September 12, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Fingers in his ears, singing la la la ….as more and more go unemployed, and destitute. Those lucky enough to keep a job, get to pay for the regulations. Pretty soon, people will be lucky to take home 5% of their paychecks.

capejasmine on September 12, 2011 at 5:35 PM

“Thankfully the day is near when there will no longer be a need for U.S. Government regulation of the private sector.”

- overheard in a conversation somewhere in China

fogw on September 12, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Opposing regulations – or even pointing out the unalterable fact of their vast cost – means you oppose the national highway system. Or treated drinking water.

Or something.

HitNRun on September 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Cavuto had that speed reader on his show today reading through all of the regulations published by Obama.

One of the regulations covers the proper disposal of LIP BALM at farms. Got that, LIP BALM!!!!!!

And that regulation was also written in 3 parts to cover coastal state farms, inland farms, and midwest farms!!

LIP BALM!!!!!!!!!!

karenhasfreedom on September 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM

“Obama had better heed that we’d like fewer of them and we’re not fooled by his false dichotomy…”

I suppose next you’ll be saying he shouldn’t engage in ad hominem arguments in following Alinsky’s Rule No. 13:

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

“…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

“One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

Who else is going to pay for this latest half billion son-of-stimulus if not the rich, the hedge-fund managers, the oil companies, and the corporate jet owners?

Take ‘em out.

Drained Brain on September 12, 2011 at 5:48 PM

I like the Regulatory Adventurism phrase from the other thread.

faraway on September 12, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Tighten government grip on those that create doesn’t make sense

Kini on September 12, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Tighten government grip on those that create doesn’t make sense

Kini on September 12, 2011 at 5:57 PM

It does if you were raised believing that capitalism is evil.

faraway on September 12, 2011 at 5:59 PM

People in government (at any and every level) never feel they have enough power.

albill on September 12, 2011 at 6:02 PM

That must mean the number of true leftists is rather small.

darwin on September 12, 2011 at 6:20 PM

csdeven is my grammy.

steebo77 on September 12, 2011 at 6:41 PM

I’m beginning the believe the Manchurian Candidate theory: Obama is a plant.

Not from the Communists, but from Capitalists… who knew long ago that after four years of Obama, there won’t be another Democratic in the White House for 40 years. Useful idiot.

VastRightWingConspirator on September 12, 2011 at 6:42 PM

csdeven is my grammy.

steebo77 on September 12, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Wrong thread.

steebo77 on September 12, 2011 at 6:42 PM

People in government (at any and every level) never feel they have enough power.

albill on September 12, 2011 at 6:02 PM

From the town clerk to the White House and every single stop in-between.

Tim Zank on September 12, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Obama had better heed that we’d like fewer of them and we’re not fooled by his false dichotomy.

Don’t like Obama’s false dichotomy? Can I interest you in a low mileage straw man?

forest on September 12, 2011 at 8:02 PM

This is all really really simple.
It’s the perfectly predictable result of turning the most dynamic and productive economy in all of human history, over to the care of people who don’t believe in it. At the end of the day, they simply don’t believe that a free society can ever work without the management and manipulation of a class of Mandarins to protect us from ourselves.

Lew on September 12, 2011 at 10:34 PM