Great moments in regulation

posted at 1:45 pm on December 17, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

I watch too much political news. There… I said it. I know this because it took me only a moment to recall numerous individuals from the president on down the line to various Democratic members of congress and spokespersons who had accused the GOP of “wanting to remove important regulations” which protect everyone. Oddly enough, that’s not how I remember it, though. Perhaps it’s just old age setting in, but I seem to recall the Republicans trying slow the shocking rate of growth of costly regulations. How fast has the regulatory pace gotten? The Wall Street Journal takes up the question.

The White House is on the political offensive, and one of its chief claims is that it isn’t the overregulator of business and Republican lore. This line has been picked up by impressionable columnists, so it’s a good time to consider the evidence in some detail.

Jan Eberly, an Assistant Treasury Secretary, kicked off the Administration campaign with a white paper in October that purported to debunk the “misconceptions” that “uncertainty is holding back business investment and hiring and that the overall burden of existing regulations is so high that firms have reduced their hiring.” Then the Administration mobilized some of the worst offenders, such as Kathleen Sebelius of HHS (“There has been no explosion of new rules”) and Lisa Jackson of the EPA (her opponents are “using the economy as cover”).

To answer the most basic question—has regulation increased?—we’ll focus on what the government defines as “economically significant” regulations. Those are rules that impose more than $100 million in annual costs on the economy, though there are hundreds if not thousands of new rules every year that fall well short of that.

According to an analysis of the Federal Register by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, the Cabinet departments and agencies finalized 84 such regulations annually on average in President Obama’s first two years. The annual average under President Bush was 62 and under President Clinton 56.

Sometimes a picture is worth more words than I’d care to type, so let’s look at the graphical analysis.

Rising Regulation

Even Cass Sunstein, the director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, said during this interview that the “pipeline was clogged” with regulations waiting to go into the review process. (A somewhat ironic choice of words, given that pipelines are precisely what we seem unable to get built, partly thanks to the aforementioned spate of regulations.) But the numbers are clear. Even if we limit the discussion to only regulations which cost you more than $100M this administration is setting records at a breathtaking pace.

Related: Be sure to check out Fred Upton’s editorial at National Review, “Obama’s Regulatory Burden.”

In the next few days, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue another final regulation directed at electricity utilities. This rule, known as the Utility MACT, will impose an estimated $11 billion each year in new costs on our economy. It will threaten electricity-generating capacity in many parts of the country. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this administration’s runaway rulemaking.

Jobs? We don’t need no steeenking jobs.


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Comments

If the GOP can’t turn the available facts such as these into a Reaganesque landslide victory…

RRR4VR on December 17, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Well Barry did say that ‘electrical rates will necessarily SKYROCKET’.

I’m sure it will be done “fairly”.

GarandFan on December 17, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Who you going to believe the government or your lying eyes.

chemman on December 17, 2011 at 1:58 PM

We are becoming the United States of California.

AndAero on December 17, 2011 at 2:03 PM

The Maximum Achievable Control Technology and Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will wipe us out. It hurts the energy sector worse than anything yet.

RAGIN CAJUN on December 17, 2011 at 2:04 PM

I just pray that the new president will do everything in his/her power to defund the epa! That is almost the worse for regulation that hurts thousands of companies and workers.
L

letget on December 17, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Do you want your grandchildren drowning in debt or choking in pollution?

cartooner on December 17, 2011 at 2:07 PM

I hate these clowns in this administration, with every fiber in my body!
That “Focused” fool is a tornado to a climate that should gradually change, socially and economically!
I’m sorry I said hate….but I can’t lie!

KOOLAID2 on December 17, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Didn’t the Congress go totally Democrat in 2007…just saying!

aposematic on December 17, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Even those on the Obama dole cannot afford him any longer.
Wouldn’t you rather have a new shiny PS3 under the Christmas tree
in 2012? That is your choice – Vote for the Republican in 2012
and you can get a shiny new PS3……Vote for Obama and
get worthless Solyndra stock certificates to burn for heat for the rest of the winter….
and four more winters….

redguy on December 17, 2011 at 2:20 PM

“Who is the real king of costly regulations?”

Why the American people, of course! Everybody knows that people prosper wherever high taxes and massive regulation are present. Just ask Slow Joe!

Babsy on December 17, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Well Barry did say that ‘electrical rates will necessarily SKYROCKET’.

I’m sure it will be done “fairly”.

GarandFan on December 17, 2011 at 1:57 PM
=============================================================
I’m getting tired of which selective promises he keeps!

KOOLAID2 on December 17, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Do you want your grandchildren drowning in debt or choking in pollution?

cartooner on December 17, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Wait, wait……..

Did Nancy Pelosi get registered in that last round of open registration? Nan, is that you? That sounds like one of her strawmen.

iurockhead on December 17, 2011 at 2:32 PM

We don’t need no Fred “Lightbulb” Upton (R-MI) either.

aquaviva on December 17, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Cutting taxes and regulations has never stimulated the economy. My guardian angel told me that.

NotCoach on December 17, 2011 at 2:36 PM

399 days!!!!

………and take Cass Sunstein and Holdren and Chu with u Obama.

Oh no wait……Holdren is an adviser to ROMNEY!!!!

PappyD61 on December 17, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Cutting taxes and regulations has never stimulated the economy. My guardian angel told me that.

NotCoach on December 17, 2011 at 2:36 PM
—————————————————————–

Bet you $10,000 the poster whose collie talks, would say something different!

KOOLAID2 on December 17, 2011 at 2:47 PM

It is pretty easy to say the regulatory burden isn’t high enough to effect hiring when you are a government type unaffected by the regulation. Perhaps we should insist on a regulation requiring all elected officials and governement employees to carry a backup and add 1 gram of sand everytime a new regulation is imposed on business. At the current rate, in no time at all, no government offical will be able to stand up without seriously injuring their back. Maybe then they’ll understand what it feels like to be a small business owner today.

MessesWithTexas on December 17, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Talk about a “hockey stick” graph…

kbTexan on December 17, 2011 at 2:52 PM

If the GOP can’t turn the available facts such as these into a Reaganesque landslide victory…

RRR4VR on December 17, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Not a chance. The RINO establishment can’t differentiate between personal attacks and attacks on policy, so they do neither. They’re strategically and tactically inept when it comes to the game of politics.

Farenht451 on December 17, 2011 at 2:53 PM

My Jack Russell says Obama is a SCOFAMF, but I don’t think the MF is for miserable Failure…she has a bit of a potty mouth.

FLconservative on December 17, 2011 at 2:53 PM

If the GOP can’t turn the available facts such as these into a Reaganesque landslide victory…

RRR4VR on December 17, 2011 at 1:55 PM

It’s not that they can’t. It’s that they get strung around with false premises.

Not a chance. The RINO establishment can’t differentiate between personal attacks and attacks on policy, so they do neither. They’re strategically and tactically inept when it comes to the game of politics.

Farenht451 on December 17, 2011 at 2:53 PM

And this. But I think it’s also worth mentioning that many commenters here can’t differentiate, either. I see it every time I get pummeled for criticizing Perry’s or Newt’s or Romney’s past policy positions. The current state of the electorate doesn’t give me much hope, either.

gryphon202 on December 17, 2011 at 3:02 PM

O/T but I am reading Andy McCarthy’s article relating to NR’s hit job on Newt (from the HA headlines). It is excellent and not only deals with Newt but Bachman and Perry.

“Playing to the cheap seats, the Editors mock Perry’s deficiencies as a debater — he needs “to spend much of his time untying his own tongue.” Do we really need to turn National Review into American Idol — and over trivia that pales beside Perry’s impressive executive record? Bachmann is a superb expositor of conservative principles, but the Editors are in a huff over her occasional resort to hyperbole — most infamously, overstating the dangers of Gardasil in an otherwise devastatingly competent critique of Perry’s vaccination mandate. Such rhetorical gaffes seem pretty tame in a field of candidates whose flaws run substantive and deep. And were she to win the nomination, President Obama wouldn’t be able to exploit this vulnerability — even if he had the expert advice of Jon Corzine and of all the “corpse”-men in the 57 states, armed to the teeth with every breathalyzer the English embassy could find.”

FLconservative on December 17, 2011 at 3:09 PM

I’m getting tired of which selective promises he keeps!

KOOLAID2 on December 17, 2011 at 2:25 PM

THink how much it would cost you if he kept all his promises.

Cutting taxes and regulations has never stimulated the economy. My guardian angel told me that.

NotCoach on December 17, 2011 at 2:36 PM

I see you got Pelosi as a guardian angel.

RickB on December 17, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Do you want your grandchildren drowning in debt or choking in pollution?

cartooner on December 17, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Are you for real??? Everyone here, other than you, can remember the last 10 years.

Those were the days…..mercury levels dropping and all that…

WryTrvllr on December 17, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Talk about a “hockey stick” graph…

kbTexan on December 17, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Well the first one they made was based on lies! at least this one has facts to back it up

TheOarsman on December 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Anyone here live near the gulf coast??
Did you every see all that oil? Honestly curious.

WryTrvllr on December 17, 2011 at 3:41 PM

(a variation on a theme from another commenter)
Note that from 1995-2006, Republicans controlled a majority (2+ out of 3) of the House, Senate and, and Presidency. The average in that chart for those years was about 80.

And from 2007-Present, Democrats controlled a majority (2+ out of 3) of the House, Senate and, and Presidency. The number almost doubled from 80 to 150 in just those 5 years.

BPinNC on December 17, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Regulations are taxes. Business is losing money to compliance. Its that simple.

tom daschle concerned on December 17, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Talk about a “hockey stick” graph…

kbTexan on December 17, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Well the first one they made was based on lies! at least this one has facts to back it up

TheOarsman on December 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Which is why you won’t hear them talking about it.

kbTexan on December 17, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Do you want your grandchildren drowning in debt or choking in pollution?

cartooner on December 17, 2011 at 2:07 PM

The air is much cleaner than it was 40 years ago. There is a principle that the first 90% of clean up is relatively cheap, it is eliminating the last few percent that are so expensive. Now we are pursuing marginal improvements at vastly higher prices. Do you think anyone will actually notice a real impact on their lives of the additional small amounts of reduction Obama is pursuing?
It is a useful question to ask are we not just driving production to areas of the world that have little pollution control regulations in the first place?

KW64 on December 17, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Look at regulation under that evil RINO George Bush…

therightwinger on December 17, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Is the author’s first name really Jazz?

Kevin M on December 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Anyone here live near the gulf coast??
Did you every see all that oil? Honestly curious.
WryTrvllr

I assume you are aware that more oil seeps naturally into the world’s oceans annually than was released by the gulf spill. Drilling can actually lower the natural pressures bringing oil to the surface. Not a common fact known among lefties and Sierra Clubbers but drilling can be an environmental benefit.

LarryinLA on December 17, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Perrys not a good debater but i think he would be the best at fighting all these regulations.

newportmike on December 17, 2011 at 9:25 PM

I was completely unaware how difficult it was to breathe in Los Angeles before Obama. Silly me but I thought the air was significantly cleaner in 2008 than in the 80s in my youth. I guess I need a vacation at a nice re-education camp – Club Fed.

LarryinLA on December 17, 2011 at 9:26 PM

All those regulations are for the common good.
/

Decoski on December 17, 2011 at 10:25 PM

If you think that chart is scary now, just wait to see what it will look like if Barry gets another 4 years…

climbnjump on December 18, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Good post, Jazz. Don’t quit reading or writing.

I think Mitt’s test is appropriate: is this program or regulation worth borrowing 40 cents of its cost to continue it?

As for the NR’s anti-endorsement of Newt, maybe when the same name keeps coming up in the endorsements of true conservatives, it might be time to re-evaluate your definition of “RINO.” Otherwise you start to resemble that large pachyderm with bad vision that charges everything it doesn’t recognize, and is often considered endangered.

flataffect on December 18, 2011 at 11:01 PM

The perfect classic movie quote that sums up this entire administration and its rampant corruption:
Badges? We don’t need no steenking badges!”
And then what happens?
(it sounds like another ØbahØlder rationalization)

Is Dear Leader (oooooops, one gone) trying to one-up Dick Nixon (for whom I would vote again)?
The exponentially ludicrous regulatory burdens that King Barack the Growth Slayer has bestowed upon we peónes, are so antithetical to American values, how can one still consider the man-child sane?
The United States could be energy independent if only the mentally ill in power would get out of the way and get treatment. And then go back to street sweeping.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 19, 2011 at 11:02 AM