Business Review Board / May 25, 2016

Obama: The Regulation Man

Twenty thousand new rules and counting.

According to a new Heritage Foundation study, appropriately titled “Red Tape Rising 2016: Obama Regs Top $100 Billion Annually,” last year alone the Obama administration added an additional $22 billion in regulations. Since 2009, the year Obama entered the Oval Office, an imposition of 20,642 new rules has pushed the cumulative financial effect of regulatory mandates to an alarming $108 billion. Writing in The Daily Signal, study authors James Gattuso and Diane Katz point out, “That’s a dollar for every star in the galaxy, or one for every second in 32 years.”

These hefty regulations have far-reaching impacts on the economy. Keep in mind, the $108 billion figure is the amount of money stripped from the economy every year. That’s debilitating enough, but the Heritage study importantly notes that “actual costs are far greater, both because costs have not been fully quantified for a significant number of rules, and because many of the worst effects — the loss of freedom and opportunity, for example — are incalculable.” The other problem is that another 2,000 or so additional rules are expected to go into effect before Obama departs in January 2017. To be fair, the regulatory barrage really got going under the Bush administration. But Obama has continued the trend and then some.

Gattuso and Katz offer some solutions to curb the runaway regulatory state:

> In a post-Obama era, the need for reform of the regulatory regime will be greater than ever before. Immediate reforms should include requiring legislation to undergo an impact analysis before a floor vote in Congress, as well as requiring that every major regulation obtain congressional approval before taking effect. Sunset deadlines should also be imposed for all major rules, and independent agencies should be subject to the same White House regulatory review as executive branch agencies.

Otherwise, we could someday long for the days when only $20-plus billion was added to compliance costs annually.

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