It’s almost 2012, and President Obama still wants a half trillion more from you for jobs spendulus. I’m waiting for Rod Serling to explain this one. The president’s own party famously lacks enthusiasm for the effort.
The roots of today’s economic troubles are hinted at in a new Gallup Poll of small business owners, which finds compliance with government regulations tops their “problem list.”
Bigger businesses say the same. No one’s forgotten that Vegas resorts mogul Steve Wynn called Washington “the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime”; or that Bernie Marcus claims he could not have built Home Depot in the regulatory environment of today.
Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro this month called today’s White House the “most anti-business administration in my lifetime.” Even Apple’s Steve Jobs reportedly gave President Obama an earful on regulation, invoking impediments to manufacturing in the U.S and more.
Continental Energy CEO Harold Hamm, rebuffed by the president when describing the sheer torrent of domestic energy available and accessible, told the Wall Street Journal that Washington keeps “a regulatory boot at our necks and then turns around and asks: ‘Why aren’t you creating more jobs.’”
Everyone’s talking about spending and flat taxes; but for healthy recovery, the hidden tax of regulation needs flattening too.
But the sky is a different color above Pennsylvania Avenue, and this week’s southern auroras can’t explain it. While Obama seeks more money, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Dr. Jan Eberly officially blogged that no evidence supports the idea that uncertainty over regulation hinders job growth. Business leaders like the above don’t count as evidence, you see.
And Cass Sunstein, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs chief tasked with taming regulation (otherwise why have the office), calls the frequently cited regulatory cost figure of over $1.5 trillion an “urban legend.” Future analysis is likely to find that’s a healthy underestimate; Sarbanes-Oxley financial regulations alone can probably get you close to that figure.
Even the Office of Management and Budget notes that government paperwork consumes 8.8 billion hours. If you assume $40 an hour (good luck paying only that), you’re talking over $350 billion in paper-shuffling costs alone, let alone compliance.
It seems otherworldly to stick to “regulations-aren’t-a-problem” story when the Federal Register has just hit a record 66,599 pages.