Obama’s Regulatory Burden
The president has misread his mandate on the economy.


In the next few days, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue another final regulation directed at electricity utilities. This rule, known as the Utility MACT, will impose an estimated $11 billion each year in new costs on our economy. It will threaten electricity-generating capacity in many parts of the country. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this administration’s runaway rulemaking.

I’m often asked when I’m home in Michigan why the House of Representatives has been so active this year passing legislation related to environment and energy rules.

The answer is simple. The Obama administration forced our hand with a regulatory approach that threatens to destroy jobs and drive up costs for families.

Never before have we seen a regulatory agenda as broad and as costly. Compounding the pain, the Obama administration unleashed its aggressive regulatory agenda on an economy that was already the weakest in decades.

The Obama administration and likeminded Democrats in Congress have consistently misread the problem and the solution. They missed the American people’s desire for balanced policy that protects jobs; they failed to see that reasonable regulatory solutions garnered broad support; and they underestimated the depth of our economic problems.

According to data available from the Office of Management and Budget, President Obama has issued 50 percent more “economically significant regulations” (those with an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more) per year than President Clinton and 44 percent more than George W. Bush.

Unfortunately, when it comes to regulations, it’s not just that there are more of them: The Obama administration’s regulatory actions are also more expensive. The average annual cost of major regulations under the Bush administration was $4.9 billion. Under Obama, the average cost has ballooned to $12.5 billion — that’s a cost increase of more than 150 percent to American businesses and consumers.

A bipartisan coalition in the House of Representatives has risen up to reject the Obama administration’s high-volume, high-cost approach to regulations. This is a natural reaction to an administration that has consistently misread the American mood and miscalculated the appropriate response to what ails our economy.

Over the past year, the House has approved numerous bills compelling the Obama administration to take a more commonsense approach to regulations: bills that would continue to protect the public and the environment while also protecting the economy. These measures would shield as many as 2 million or more American jobs put at risk by regulatory overreach, and they would remove the uncertainty that is such a powerful deterrent to economic recovery.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review