Here are ten of the most obvious out of a list which could easily reach several dozen:
- The war on fossil fuels, which has limited job growth in energy-related industries and caused prices to be higher than they should be for everyone else.
- Cronyism on steroids.
- Trillion-dollar deficit spending.
- New bureaucracies like Dodd-Frank’s Consumer Financial Bureau, which Congress can’t legally touch.
- Sarbanes Oxley, a relic of the 2001 Enron debacle which the administration has done nothing to reform, and which has closed off the going-public option for many companies which would have done so before “Sarbox” became law.
- Unemployment and other government benefits which make remaining unemployed relatively attractive, or a least a more tolerable circumstance than it should be, and for a longer period of time than should be necessary.
- Onerous labor laws and regulations. I’ve spoken with many entrepreneurs in the past year, some of whom have had employees in the past. A vast majority of them have told me that they won’t hire any new employees in the current regulatory environment, even if the economy improves. Most start-up entrepreneurs likely feel the same way.
- Trade policy, a problem which spans the past four administrations but is being most acutely felt now.
- Federal, state, and local tax increases.
- Last but certainly not least, Obamacare, especially its career-killing definition of a full-time employee as anyone who works 30 or more hours per week, and the destructive impact it will have in slowing medical innovation and research to a crawl.
What the AP series really tells us is that the economy wasn’t performing as well as the government and the establishment press claimed it was during the presidential campaign — something I believe this week’s report on fourth-quarter gross domestic product will confirm — and that the White House really doesn’t expect the malaise to lift during most of Obama’s second term.
Also read: Shrinking Economy? The GOP Built That