Government regulation is one of the nation’s few growth industries, making a mockery of the assertions and predictions of the Obama administration.
During his recent State of the Union speech, President Obama once again tried to assure Americans that he is committed to regulatory reform. But no student of federal regulation could possibly be convinced, because the facts clearly tell a different story.
The president isn’t alone in peddling the myth of regulatory reform. His regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, has been at it for months. He announced last August that rule changes would “save U.S. businesses billions of dollars in regulatory burdens.” But, contrary to his assertions, the regulatory review that led to these changes was neither “unprecedentedly ambitious” nor likely to improve the nation’s current economic stagnation.
Sunstein claimed that regulatory relief will save businesses $10 billion over five years. To put these savings in context, the most recent analysis by the Small Business Administration estimated the cost of compliance with federal regulation (as of 2008) to be a staggering $1.75 trillion annually.
Stung by criticism that his administration’s policies are anti-business, Obama has tried various ploys to deny it. In January 2010, he announced a government-wide review of federal regulations to restore “balance” by eliminating those “that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.” He emphasized that concept again in his 2011 State of the Union speech, referring to “rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses.”
But Obama and Sunstein are offering little more than political posturing about regulatory reform.