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Is Obama One and Done on Regulations?


While President Obama’s recent pushback on the EPA’s proposed ozone standard raised hopes among businesses and consumers – three quarters of whom now think that America is overregulated – he seems to think that he should be able to solve all his problems by eliminating one.

But last time we counted, there were ten regulations on Eric Cantor’s list of top job-destroyers, and seven on the list of billion-dollar rules that Obama sent to Speaker Boehner.

Here’s a look at some of what’s still out there:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

The EPA’s Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule (MACT) rule requires coal-fired plants to reduce emissions of particular toxic air pollutants – namely mercury emissions. As is typical with these pie-in-the-sky EPA regulations, the MACT rule would require plants to achieve standards that are not economically feasible and/or install equipment that is not commercially available.

The Utility MACT rule could force the shut down of enough coal-fired power plants to equal about 30-70 gigawatts of electricity generation nationwide, resulting in double-digit rate hikes for consumers and costly upgrades to some power plants.

The EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) will regulate emissions from coal-fueled power plants in the name of preventing polluted air to cross over from state to state. However, the unnecessarily stringent demands and unrealistic implementation timeline are forcing plants across the country to shut down or cut back, which is predicted to stress the power grid to the point of blackouts. Texas-based energy company Luminant announced a first wave of shutdowns and layoffs as the rule’s compliance deadline moves closer.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):

The Obama-appointed 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.

National Mediation Board (NMB):

The NMB is the federal body that oversees labor relations in two key transportation industries – railroads and airlines. The NMB has enacted changes to the rules that govern union organizing of air and rail workers that allow a minority of workers to vote to unionize the entire body of a company workforce, when unionization has historically required a majority vote.

Department of Education:

The Dept. of Ed’s recently enacted ‘gainful employment’ rule seeks to undermine the for-profit college industry by applying arbitrary and unreasonable loan repayment standards to these institutions, and making students attending schools who do not meet them ineligible for federal tuition aid. If allowed to proceed as planned, the rule will prevent untold numbers of college attendees from getting the financial aid they need to enroll in career-focused programs that provide vital training necessary to compete in a global economy.

Again, all of this is just a taste of what the Obama administration’s ever-expanding network of bureaucracies has in store for American businesses and consumers.

So what is the disconnect between Obama’s public step in the right direction and the truculence within the administration’s bureaucracy? A generous interpretation would be that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. A more likely explanation is that the right hand is covering what the left hand is doing; that Obama thinks by throwing a bone to the business community he can throw them off the scent and focus on his $450 billion ‘jobs bill.’

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