This morning brought news of a new executive order by President Obama aimed – ostensibly – at boosting our economy by reining in harmful regulations. If the President is serious, he can join Republicans in repealing the job-destroying health care law (which will require 10,000 pages of new regulations to implement). And that’s just to start.
Republicans long ago called for a similar regulatory review as part of the No Cost Jobs Plan produced by House GOP Economic Recovery Solutions Group, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Still, the President’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal is a welcome acknowledgement that government regulations do, in fact, have economic consequences. This is something American job creators have come to know all too well over the last few years. From the back-door national energy tax and ill-conceived barriers to domestic energy production, to job-destroying mandates for Main Street as part of Wall Street reform, to the aforementioned health care law, Washington has been spending a lot more time building obstacles to job creation than breaking them down.
That is why it’s hard to see how an administration that celebrates its record of expansive, often intrusive, regulations will be capable of calming small businesses who feel besieged by Washington’s expanding reach – especially when the same regulators who have written rules that stifle economic growth are now being asked to identify and eliminate them.
What is clear is that bureaucrats in Washington are not those best suited to determine what creates jobs in America and which rules get in the way of private sector growth.
To truly protect American small businesses from destructive regulations, as part of the Pledge to America, Republicans have proposed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. The REINS Act, sponsored by Congressman Geoff Davis, would shine a light on costly new regulations and place a new check on the unaccountable regulators who propose them. As promised in the Pledge to America:
To provide stability, we will require congressional approval of any new federal regulation that has an annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more. This is the threshold at which the government deems a regulation “economically significant.” If a regulation is so “significant” and costly that it may harm job creation, Congress should vote on it first.
Whether this executive order is more substance or show is yet to be seen, but there are bolder steps the President can take immediately to reduce the regulatory burdens on American job creators. Hopefully a new year will bring a new commitment from the President to take his foot of the brake of economic growth – and his support for the REINS Act when it passes in the House.