Limited Government

Sen. Johnson’s ‘Victims of Government’ project

3/27/2013-Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson on Tuesday unveiled the first installment of a new project aimed at demonstrating how big government hurts average Americans.

“The root cause of our economic and fiscal problems is the size, the scope, and the cost of government – all the rules, all the regulations, and all the government intrusion into our lives,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson commenced his new “Victims of Government” project with a short film detailing the plight of Granite City, Ill. resident Steven Lathrop who spent more than 20 years attempting to comply with federal wetlands regulations to alleviate flooding in his neighborhood — only to end up in a mess of red tape, bureaucratic mistakes and eventual financial distress.

Johnson is encouraging other Americans to bring him their own stories of government overreach and burdensome regulations.

“Over-regulation consumes massive amounts of the people’s money, too often lacks common sense, has no heart, costs jobs and economic growth,” Johnson added.

WATCH

THE TOP FIVE OBAMA REGULATIONS THAT AMERICAN BUSINESSES HATE MOST

Top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa asked 150 industry groups which of President Obama’s regulations they think are impeding economic growth.

The results are in: On Monday, Issa released 1,947 pages of almost unreadable letters from a slew of  trade  associations  specifying complaints on government regulations that reach almost every part of American industry.

The letters are boring because they tackle highly technical subjects. For instance, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association warned that an update to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) on the chemical formaldehyde could negatively impact economic growth.

But those letters are important because millions – sometimes billions – of dollars are at stake to businesses that  drive  the American economy.

In the case of the formaldehyde IRIS update, the issue is a study on the cancer risks of formaldehyde, a chemical used in $145 billion worth of products in the U.S. and Canada each year, according to an industry group defending the chemical.

From more than 100 different new regulations either proposed or finalized by the Obama administration, these are the five  business groups hate the most, based on the number of separate organizations that wrote Issa to recommend he look into them:

1. EPA climate change regulations

Though cap and trade was defeated in Congress, the EPA is sprinting to finalize its own regulations that would mandate reduced carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gasses” scientists think are warming the planet.

Besides whether the EPA should be addressing global warming without a congressional mandate, the mechanism Obama plans to use is particularly burdensome. Environmentalists originally used the EPA-only approach as a threat to spur congressional action, thinking the doomsday scenario of that plan going forward would spur Republicans and industry groups to come to the negotiating table. That didn’t work, and now the regulations are going forward.

Thirty separate industry groups wrote Issa about the EPA’s “tailoring rule,” a legally questionable approach to limit the regulations to only major factories and industrial facilities. If the tailoring rule falls in court, six million new facilities would be subject to EPA regulations for the first time, including more than 3 million single- family  homes . That would be regulatory Armageddon, even according to the EPA.

Twenty-three groups wrote about the regulations on the big industrial facilities to control for carbon dioxide emissions. Groups warn the regulations will be costly and unworkable.

2. OSHA’s “occupational noise” regulation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed a new regulation in October that would have put strict new regulations on the volume of noise experienced by workers on the job. But the outcry over the cost and feasibility of the new regulations was so great the agency abandoned the regulation on Jan. 19, promising to start over after consulting with key members of Congress including Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent.

Still, industry groups are wary, and 29 of them wrote Issa about where the Obama administration is heading on this issue. The groups concerned about the matter include a who’s who of manufacturing sectors such as the American Iron and Steel Institute and the National Tooling and Machining Association.

3. EPA’s new restrictions on ozone pollution

Like the climate change regulations, this regulation is another rule on air pollution under the Clean Air Act.

EPA Administrator Lisa  Jackson backed off the agency’s plans to more strictly regulate ozone pollution shortly after the midterm election “shellacking,” asking for more research on the issue in December.
States are in charge of implementing the EPA-set standards under the Clean Air Act, and a stricter new limit could put many of them out of “attainment” with the standards. In the worst case scenario, states could be forced to ban new  construction and could lose federal money for highway construction.

4. Implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill

Industry groups raised concerns about 20 separate provisions in the Dodd-Frank regulation that the Obama administration is currently implementing.

Like most large bills, Dodd-Frank grants federal agencies broad discretion on how to implement the law, meaning the battle over what it means is far from over.

One example of the provisions in Dodd-Frank is new rules governing debit card “interchange fees” charged by credit card  companies to merchants for processing purchases made in stores with the cards. Another example is new disclosure rules for executive pay.

5. EPA’s new training requirements for renovation projects

Lead-based paint, used for decades in homes and on buildings, is still found in many older buildings. Since lead is hazardous, especially to children, renovation projects that disturb lead-based paint can lead to the danger of inhaling  lead  dust.

To address this potential health issue, the EPA has required extensive training for workers before they complete renovation projects on any buildings built before 1978.

Construction and other workers subject to the new rules as of last April are concerned about the extent of the training and fearful of the penalty for non-compliance: up to a $37,500 per day fine.

Twenty  industry groups expressed their concern about the regulation to Issa.


Bloomberg Businessweek, “Does Government Matter? Washington’s fight over the debt ceiling has obscured a larger reality: Government has lost its ability to influence the economy,” by Zachary Karabell: “When the U.S. economy was a closed system, … the decisions of the central bank shaped the cost of capital and interest rates … Now, however, a global market of buyers and sellers sets interest rates … The American government’s struggle to reduce unemployment has further exposed its waning influence. … Supporters of the stimulus package assert that without it, unemployment would have been even more dire, and they may be right. The fact remains … that over the past two and a half years, government efforts to move employment trends have come to naught.”

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…and if it was would anyone even know?

Some good those new regulations have done…

Time for Leaders to Lead

When was the last time Harry Reid and the senate passed a budget?


Carney: Durbin, Tester, lobbyists, and the Dodd-Frank corruption machine

“When government increases its control over the economy, it’s good for lobbyists. But don’t forget the benefit to the politicians, too.”

Financial Overhaul Bill will cost $1 Billion to implement this year

The financial overhaul law that President Barack Obama and Democrats enacted last year will cost nearly $1 billion to implement this year, according to Congress’ chief auditor. But little of that is coming directly from  taxpayers. Government Accountability Office figures, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, show that it will cost 11 agencies an estimated $974 million to hire employees and for other costs carrying out the new statute.

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