House GOP Starts the Process of Curtailing Government Regulation

Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is starting off the 2011 Congress in a business friendly way that has long been given the cold-shoulder by an adversarial Obama Administration.  As Chairman, Issa sent out letters to 150 companies nationwide asking the most pressing question that should be on the minds of Americans: what federal regulations need to be cut to stimulate economic growth?

Sure, Obama met with a group of business leaders a few weeks ago in one of his infamous “summit meetings,” but what good have we ever seen come from such conversations?  Given that the meeting was targeted to ease tensions within the business community and brainstorm ways to stimulate economic growth, it was an abysmal failure in light of the recent announcement that the EPA will shortly revamp an unprecedented process of curtailing emissions from industrial facilities.  Understandably, the meeting was meant to include business leaders in the decision-making process, but all it becomes is an elaborate farce if the leaders talk about loosening regulations for 3 hours only to be completely ignored… 

Issa’s decision is also an important step towards actually listening to the American people who have expertise in these critical areas of job production.  It’s way past time we stopped listening to Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke about the economy and started asking the people directly involved in the process of job creation what the government can do to help them succeed, and the almost unanimous response from these individuals has been to decry the unprecedented exercise of regulatory enforcement.  In short, the best thing the government can do to help the economy is to stay out of it.

Of course, there has been no shortage of outcry from Leftist organizations, and we would be remiss not to ridicule their ignorance:

“This is even more evidence that House Republicans are in the business of protecting corporate special interests instead of creating middle-income jobs,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement.

Others were harsher: “Rather than providing a platform for presentation of a corporate wish list, Representative Issa should be subjecting corporate claims to the withering scrutiny he promises for the Obama administration,” the consumer group Public Citizen said in a statement.” It’s time we ended the Kabuki theater of corporate whining, and got on with the serious business of creating jobs and making America safer and cleaner.”

The most interesting part about these comments is that they were completely absent during Obama’s business summit meeting several weeks ago.  So, if a Republican seeks out the advice of the men who create the environment for economic growth in this country, he is beholden to special interests, but if the Left-wing leader of the free world does so, he is praised or, at the very least, ignored.  But then, the lack of response during Obama’s business outreach is most likely due to the fact that it is the height of ignorance to believe that the man would ever escalate the conversation into substantive government reform.  So, the presence of an outcry from the Left now is a sign of good things to come in my book.  The hypocrisy is duly noted, nonetheless.

More interestingly, Issa seems to be taking a wide-ranging, across the board approach to attacking the Obama regulatory regime.  It is an attack on the bureaucracy that is somewhat unprecedented, but given the fact that Issa is facing an unprecedented use of the bureaucracy for federal regulation, it is a tactic that is entirely necessary and prudent in scope.  Rosario Palmieri, Vice President of regulatory policy at the National Association of Manufacturers commented on Issa’s approach:

He noted that Mr. Issa’s committee had a broad mandate to turn its investigative resources on almost any subject, providing a rare opportunity for a wide-angle focus.“We need to look government wide at the cost of regulation and its impact on industry. Few take so broad a look at regulation. Mostly they review the individual agencies or program areas. So this particular review could be very promising because of its ability to look at the cumulative burden of regulation,” Mr. Palmieri said.

In the letters, Mr. Issa said that federal agencies promulgated 43 “major” regulations in the last fiscal year, which he said would impose a cost on business of $28 billion. He described that as the largest increase in federal regulation in a single year.

Mr. Issa has an enormous task ahead of him to roll back the suicidal regulations that hinder our economic recovery.  It is a task made all the more difficult due to the broad mandate handed down by the Obama Administration, allowing the monstrous federal bureaucracy to tinker with American ingenuity.  As important as deficit reduction is to the new Congress, it is equally as important that people like Darrell Issa take a stand on the regulatory overreach of the Obama Administration.  If we ever want to see an end to this economic downturn, we have to start somewhere, and the most effective place to start is right at the heart of the matter: ending government-by-regulation.

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