Despite a small glimmer of hope from last Friday’s unemployment rate drop to 9.1%, business leaders know nearly all other economic figures continue to point to an anemic recovery or worse, a double-dip recession.
In reaction to the jobs numbers, Home Depot co-founder, Bernie Marcus had this to say on Politico:
While some may be relieved at today’s jobs numbers, the reality is that our economy is struggling to recover. And a big reason for that is the federal government. The impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with. Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business. And I mean every day. It’s become stifling.
And this is a theme that business leaders continue to make: over-burdensome regulations from Washington are stifling the economy and preventing serious job growth while the Obama administration only continues to make the problem worse.
Lets take a look at the cold hard numbers. In the past few weeks, major American companies had to announce more layoffs:
- Borders – 400 stores will close, costing almost 11,000 jobs.
- Boston Scientific – Announced restructuring that will cost up to 1,400 jobs.
- Goldman Sachs – Will let go 1,000 employees, or nearly 3 percent of their workforce.
- Merck – Will layoff 13,000 workers to cut costs.
- State Street – Announced it will cut 850 jobs, in a second round of layoffs within a year.
With all of this going on, President Barack Obama is promising (yet another) renewed focus on job creation. But what is his administration doing? Contrary to Obama’s promised regulatory reform from earlier this year, the administration continues to say one thing and do another.
Take a look at just a few examples of the administration’s regulatory policies:
-The Obama-packed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is backing Big Labor by leading a crusade against Boeing for opening a new plant and creating jobs in South Carolina. This is all because South Carolina is a right-to-work state where workers aren’t forced to join a union if they don’t want to.
-Similarly, the National Mediation Board (NMB) is in the middle of a pro-union vendetta against Delta Airlines. This is all due to the fact that the unions have failed in their attempts to organize Delta even after numerous elections. Big Labor blames it’s failure on unproved election tampering on the part of Delta. The NMB will likely rule within in a few months against Delta and force union election after election until one is finally formed.
-After the failure cap-and-trade legislation, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to use the Clean Air Act as a loophole to implement it through regulatory overreach. One of these regulations, know as the Maximum Achievable Control Technology or MACT rule, would force the shut down of many coal-fired power plants due to the high costs and burdens placed on them by the regulations. This would result in a dramatic rise in energy prices and loss in jobs. One estimate determined that these cap-and-trade style regulations would reduce GDP by up to $500 billion and eliminate 2.5 million jobs.
-Further, the EPA is penalizing states like Texas and Indiana with an expanded Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). The CSAPR regulations will increase electricity costs in many states while forcing dozens of plant shutdowns and costing thousands of jobs in an already troubled economy. The EPA’s actions are so extreme that even the unions declared that the EPA is overreaching.
-For months following the BP oil spill, the Obama administration stopped issuing drilling permits in the Gulf Coast, andthen instituted a de facto moratorium under which very few drilling permits were being issued.
-An item that’s technically legislation, not regulatory rulemaking, but stands to pack the same economically ruinous punch is the NAT GAS Act (H.R. 1380) which heavily subsidizes businesses and consumers who switch to natural gas-fueled vehicles directly benefiting billionaires T. Boone Pickens and George Soros at the taxpayers’ expense. The subsidies – ahem, ‘tax credits’ – come in at a whopping $7,500 per passenger car, $64,000 for heavy-duty trucks and 18-wheelers, and up to $100,000 for gas stations installing natural gas pumps.
- And starting next year, new regulations will take effect, which will specifically target for-profit colleges and preventtheir students from obtaining federal loans unless the colleges amply ensure “gainful employment” for graduates. This will force some institutions to close their doors and limit the educational options Americans deeply need as they try to compete in a global economy.
According to a report from Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), the administration just in the month of July alone purposed 229 rules and finalized 379, the combined cost of which is over $9.5 billion.
So as the president celebrates the slight drop in the unemployment rate, the rest of us should realize that until and unless the Obama administration removes the burdensome regulations that it has placed on private sector businesses, true economic recovery is a pipe dream.