President Obama and his minions seem to think that freedom is a four-letter word. His administration has imposed an array of intrusive, nanny-state, financial, environmental and consumer-product regulations that will cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars.
Public policy has consequences, and excessive, unwise regulation has contributed to a potentially catastrophic slowing of the nation’s economic growth. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s survey of 39 economic forecasters released in November predicted that over the first three quarters of 2013, GDP growth will average 2.1% and will rise only to 2.9% in 2015. They predicted that unemployment will average 7.8% this year and drop to a still unacceptable 6.9% by 2015.
In other words, economic growth and unemployment numbers are expected to remain weak at least through most of Obama’s second term. A report from the World Economic Forum offers some insight into the reasons: the erosion of transparency in government, wasteful spending, burdensome regulation, and waning trust in the integrity of the public sector.
A senior presidential appointee who epitomizes all of those flaws is EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who has a cynical, hyper-regulatory, damn-the-science philosophy that resembles the Europeans’ innovation-busting “precautionary principle,” the view that until a product or activity has been definitively proven safe, it should be banned or at least smothered with regulation. Jackson – who has just announced her resignation — seems unaware that regulation has costs, direct and indirect; that regulators should strive to limit the intrusiveness of oversight to the level that is necessary and sufficient; and that her agency has myriad deficiencies in both policies and personnel.
Policy by policy and decision by decision, Jackson and her colleagues (along with their counterparts at other regulatory agencies) have decimated the nation’s competitiveness, ability to innovate, and capacity to create wealth. A recent analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimated that the annual cost of compliance with EPA regulations alone is more than a third of a trillion dollars.
Read more at Forbes. By Henry I. Miller.