Although the trend didn’t start under President Obama, the dramatic expansion of the regulatory state during his tenure that will have long and lasting consequences beyond his time in office. Federal bureaucratic tentacles continue to reach further and deeper into the private, public and business lives of Americans, with plentiful and onerous regulations appearing in the dead of night or on a Friday afternoon at 4:59pm when no one is looking.
President Obama famously signaled his intent to use whatever tools he had at his disposal to fundamentally change the United States and further his policy goals after the 2010 elections, declaring, “Where Congress won’t act, I will.”
And he has.
Since then, the administration has unilaterally made law on several fronts, including immigration, gun control, cyber security and sentencing guidelines for drug offenses.
“It would be difficult for anyone to pretend that this isn’t a high water mark in terms of regulation,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office who now heads the American Action Forum.
Data collected by researchers at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center shows that the Code of Federal Regulations, where all rules and regulations are detailed, has ballooned from 71,224 pages in 1975 to 174,545 pages last year. “All incentives are to regulate more,” said Susan Dudley, the director of George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center.
Lawyers everywhere are rejoicing (and so are the publications and training companies that make money from keeping them up on things).
As evidence and charges mount that the cumulative affect of the mounting red tape is crushing businesses, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) states, “All the kinds of things we say we want: an expanding economy, more opportunity, more jobs — all of them are stifled by the regulatory oppression that’s occurred.”
Much of the activity can be attributed to two sweeping pieces of legislation: ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and we are already witnessing the devastating impact this is having on the nation’s free enterprise system.
So what can we do at the grassroots level? We can ask our Congressmen and Senators about their impact during their town hall meetings, we can press the House to de-fund ObamaCare and as Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform so helpfully suggested about the incredible burdensome regulatory requirements coming from the EPA, “If they don’t like these rules, they can set about amending the Clean Air Act.”