The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.
What’s that sound? It’s the sound of 70,000 pages of regulations being finalized as President Obama’s final year draws to an end. By the end of the year, according to a Competitive Enterprise Institute report released this month, that number should grow to 89,416 pages. This would outdo Obama’s own record of 81,405 pages of regulations published in 2010.
Here are two of the most devastating regulations, this time from the Department of Labor (DOL): the fiduciary rule and the overtime rule. These are two heavy-handed rules that actually hurt the very people they claim to protect.
Fiduciary rule. The fiduciary rule is a one-size-fits-all regulation which creates more paperwork and costly recordkeeping requirements for financial planning, all in the noble name of consumer protection. The problem is that the rule is “such overkill” that it will have the opposite effect. It will significantly raise the cost of seeking financial advice, making it even harder for families to save for retirement. That’s why it’s been coined “Obamacare for financial planning.”
Overtime rule. More people getting paid for overtime work sounds great, but such a huge federal intervention into large swaths of our economy has serious (and terrible) consequences. The overtime rule is especially bad for students, entrepreneurs, and young people, as employers will be forced to turn salaried positions into hourly ones, costing people the benefits that come with salaried positions. A lot of these jobs will be eliminated altogether.
DOL is in a race against the clock—and it shows. The DOL pushed out these regulations with little regard to the rules’ consequences on entire sectors of the economy—or to the legality:
“Utterly confused.” The DOL was supposed to work with other federal agencies on the development of the fiduciary rule, but ultimately, the bureacrats couldn’t be bothered. A report released in February showed the DOL’s utter—and seemingly willful—neglect of the rule’s consequences. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) raised 26 substantive problems with the fiduciary rule. One SEC employee emailed that he was “utterly confused as to what the purpose of the proposed DOL rule is.”
No problem here. The Department of Treasury said the rule’s proposal to regulate IRAs ‘’flies in the face of logic” and is in opposition to congressional intent. Without missing a beat, the DOL released the proposed rule two weeks later—without addressing these serious concerns.
“Trying to unilaterally rewrite the law.” The DOL’s track record isn’t much better on the overtime rule. In September, officials from 21 states filed a lawsuit on the overtime rule, which would also put an undue burden on state budgets. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “Once again, President Obama is trying to unilaterally rewrite the law. And this time, it may lead to disastrous consequences for our economy." The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other business groups also filed a lawsuit against the administration.
Just when you thought it couldn’t be any worse. The overtime rule wouldn’t just hurt the business economy, but would also harm philanthropic work. Operation Smile says the overtime rule will “increase our payroll cost by nearly $1 million annually affecting over 50 percent of our workforce. . . this would mean 4,166 fewer surgeries provided by Operation Smile globally each year.” Similarly, the Salvation Army says that they “anticipate that staff cuts would therefore become necessary and that we would be required to reduce the religious and charitable programming that we provide nationally.”
No kidding, there a better way. These are two, no-good regulations that were hastily strung together and are too harmful to stand. They will end up hurting the people the rules purport to help: the American worker. That’s why the House has voted to reject the fiduciary rule and delay the overtime rule. House Republicans believe we need to repeal these and more harmful regulations like it so that small businesses can hire more workers and so our economy can thrive once again.