The high cost of Obama regulations

Alexis Simendinger:

Do federal regulations save lives, protect the environment and establish uniform rules nationwide? Or do they burden commerce, hike costs for consumers and choke off hiring?

A decades-long and highly partisan debate raged anew between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans Tuesday when the president advised John Boehner, in response to an inquiry from the House speaker, that the government is considering seven new regulations that could collectively cost the economy from tens of billions of dollars to more than $100 billion per year.

In fact, a tally of regulatory cost ranges identified by Obama has a high-end total of $105 billion for four rules administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, and another $5 billion for regulations that would be administered by the Department of Transportation. The most expensive regulation on Obama’s list, dealing with health hazards from smog, is estimated to cost the economy between $19 billion and $90 billion.

Boehner responded immediately Tuesday, telling the president by letter that Republicans, listening to the business community and eager to fight regulatory burdens, now want Obama to provide cost estimates for 212 other economically significant regulatory actions in the federal pipeline.

The skirmish over regulations bubbled to the surface as Obama prepared to unveil what the White House says will be a collection of job-creation proposals next week. House Republicans are championing their own plan in advance of the president’s speech. That plan, barely 10 pages long (including graphics), asserts that “total regulatory costs amount to $1.75 trillion annually -- enough money for businesses to provide 17.5 million private sector jobs with an average salary of $100,000.”

This attack on regulation will undercut Obama's jobs message next week. The Republican proposal would save money and jobs instead of costing money as the President's plan is sure to do. It also sets up a potential bargain that Obama may have a difficult time ignoring.

Susan Ferrechio has more on the fight over regulations.


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