The Regulation of America

We’re becoming a severely regulated country, and it’s coming on the heels of President Obama’s promise to

find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses [and] fix them

which he made in his 2011 State of the Union address and which he committed to writing in his Executive Order 13563 the week prior, which requires all executive branch agencies to “identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens.”

This also is symptomatic of what’s wrong with our present administration.

This exchange between Congressman Corey Gardner (R, CO)  and EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus at a House Environment and the Economy Subcommittee hearing demonstrates just how seriously Obama and his agencies take his promises:

Corey: Is it standard procedure for an economic analysis to ignore the impact on jobs?

Stanislaus: Well, we didn’t do a direct analysis, again we sought—

Corey: So you did not do a direct economic analysis?

Stanislaus: Well we did do an economic analysis on [various areas]

Corey: But not a cost on jobs?

Stanislaus: Not directly.

The entire five minutes of the video consists of variations of this exchange wherein Corey kept trying to pin down Stanislaus on whether the EPA satisfies its statutory requirement to do a jobs impact analysis as part of its rules economic analysis and Stanislaus’ constant evasion and finally admission that the EPA does not.  The rules, as rules, are more important than working Americans, more important than their effects on our country.

As the Heritage Foundation points out, since January 2009, 106 new “major” regulations have been enacted, costing us $46 billion, plus almost $11 billion more in implementation costs: Obama has become the biggest regulator in American history.  Dodd-Frank has generated the most regulations, and with the CFPB, these are the least accountable.  The EPA, though, is enacting the most expensive, with just four rules costing us $4 billion per year.  And this is before the closure of gasoline refineries in the Northeast—which will force New York, for instance, to import expensive foreign gasoline to make up the shortfall—and electric power generating plants throughout the already economic and employment challenged rust belt—which will drive up power costs for those hard-pressed businesses and citizens.

On the financial side beyond Dodd-Frank, the government is reaching directly inside our businesses to dictate to them what they can and cannot do with their own business assets.  Illustrative of this is the Federal Reserve Bank’s decision to not allow Citibank to return capital to its owners through increased dividends and stock buy-backs.  The Fed said Citi couldn’t handle it.  The Fed said that, not the bank’s owners.  The bank’s owners said otherwise but were casually overruled.

There’s a rather naked conflict of interest here for a government as prone to expand our national debt as this one is.  As Alex Pollock, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and past president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, points out:

…governments promote loans to governments. They have an obvious self-interest in promoting loans to themselves and to other governments they wish to help or influence.  Banks are extremely vulnerable to pressure from governments—the more regulated they are, the more vulnerable.  Employees of government bureaucracies have an incentive to encourage loans to their political employers—an inherent conflict of interest.

But never mind about petty conflicts of interest.  It’s this way because the Progressives don’t believe we’re able to take care of our own affairs.  Instead, we must be told what to do, have our courses of action limited—for our own good—by our Betters.  And for their political gain.

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