Consequences of an overregulated nation
By: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe
Monday, February 13, 2012
Overreaching government regulations are costing jobs and killing our economy. They are a heavy burden on our nation and its citizens – in some cases worse than our nation’s increasingly out-of-control debt.
These past few years, most of my time in the Senate has been focused on fighting the culprit behind these regulations: President Obama and his administration.
During the President’s first 26 months in office, his Administration imposed 75 new major regulations costing over $48 billion in taxpayer dollars. That’s more than any other President in the history of our nation. Recent analysis by George Mason University found that the Obama administration averages 84 economically significant regulations each year. Presidents Bush and Clinton averaged 62 and 56 respectively. Currently there are 149 major new rules in the administration’s pipeline. At that rate, everywhere conservatives like me in Congress look, there is a new regulatory fire that needs to be put out.
When President Obama doesn’t get his way through the Congressional legislative process, he does what he wants through executive branch regulations. These include controversial measures like Obamacare, Global Warming regulations, and the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulatory Reform that carry hefty price tags and unnecessary red tape. Battling the administration, I have delayed regulations like the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule, Boiler MACT, and the Lead-Based Paint Rule. I was also successful in defeating the new Ozone Standard that would have cost 7 million jobs and the Farm Dust Rule that would have negatively impacted farmers across Oklahoma. Even with these successes, there are still dozens of regulations that need to be defeated.
Excessive government overregulation has especially affected small business owners. In a recent Gallup poll, 22 percent of small business owners, the strongest engine for job creation in our country, stated the most important problem they currently face is complying with government regulations. Similarly, a Harris poll found that 43 percent of small businesses view Obama’s regulations as the greatest threat to their business while 35 percent say regulations are causing the most uncertainty. It is no wonder that this burden has caused 1 in 3 small business owners to worry about going out of business this year – a killer for job creation.
The daunting prospect of businesses closing in 2012 paints a reality far different then what President Obama has continually promised. For months President Obama has traveled the country promising economic recovery and new jobs. His rhetoric notwithstanding, the reality is without an economic turn-around in the next year and a half, President Obama will have the worst jobs record in modern Presidential history.
Of course with his re-election on the line, the President’s administration has trotted out their political defense for their over-regulating ways. But the facts don’t lie. Since Obama took office, we have 1.1 million fewer jobs with a 9 percent increase in unemployment.
For a strong economy with job growth, we need fewer regulations and bureaucratic red tape to provide greater freedom and choices for the American people. Clearly, what our economy needs most is to have Obama and the federal government get out of the way.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is the senior senator from Oklahoma.