The Looming Biden Federal Regulatory Nightmare

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Biden Will Put Regulations Back on Steroids

In modern parlance, there is a lot to “unpack” here as we move closer to Joe Biden’s inauguration. While the focus in the news these days is on the fire hose of awful that was the first week of 2021, it’s now time to look at the nuts and bolts of what the next Democratic administration will bring.

At this point, it’s difficult to know how to label the incoming administration. Biden-Harris. Harris-Biden. Dr. Jill-Puppet Joe. My money is on the third option for the moment. That will eventually devolve into the mother of all catfights between Dr. Jill and Kamala Harris, but we’re not there yet.

I’d give that at least two weeks after the inauguration to fully develop.

We know we’re about to get a renewed commitment to bloating the federal beast that might make the Obama era look like the picture of bureaucratic restraint. As Stacey wrote in November, the majority of Americans don’t want that, but as Grandpa Gropes’s old boss liked to say: elections have consequences.

Despite the fact that the Democrats will control the White House and Congress, don’t expect Biden to be patient enough to advance an agenda via legislation. He won’t be interested in letting the House and Senate pretend that they actually represent their constituents. Expect instead a flood of executive orders, followed relatively soon by a slew of new federal regulations. Sure, Biden will have to get his people in place at the various regulatory agencies, but the Swamp is still not drained so there are a lot of his friendlies already there.

City Journal gives us a detailed preview of what we might expect:

And so it’s likely to go for the next four years. All modern presidents have used the administrative state and presidential executive orders to pursue their agenda. Biden can do a lot with his pen, and much of what he does will unravel Trump’s own legacy of using executive powers, largely as a deregulator. Biden promises to be a re-regulator, reimposing many of the mandates that the Obama administration originally engineered in areas as diverse as the environment, the workplace, unions, and immigration.

Federal agencies and departments under Obama issued some 22,700 rules in eight years, with another 2,000 waiting to be enacted when Trump took office, according to a Heritage Foundation study. Among those actions, Obama’s National Labor Relations Board ruled that employees of small franchise operations were to be considered jointly employed by the large companies that granted the franchises. That is, workers for a small business that owned, say, one or two McDonald’s were now considered employees of the parent company, too. That potentially made these large businesses responsible for labor violations by any of their franchisees.

That last part is part of a protracted, multi-pronged attack by Democrats against small business owners. It’s just one of the many Big Labor-backed attempts to reclassify workers and force them into unions, like AB5 in California did.

Biden’s lunatic green lust will almost assuredly beef up the Environmental Protection Agency to nightmare proportions. In the Democrats’ dream bureaucracy, the EPA would be eighty percent of the federal budget.

Here’s another little reminder of the Lightbringer years:

The Obama administration issued new environmental regulations, including stricter, more expensive, energy-efficiency standards on everything from washing machines to water heaters; the Clean Power Plan, which set national standards for greenhouse-gas emissions for states to meet by 2030; higher fuel-efficiency standards for auto manufacturers; higher production standards for livestock sold as “organic”; and a ban on offshore oil drilling in large areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s important to remember that virtually every component of the Democrats’ green agenda is costly to businesses, which then have to pass the cost on to consumers. Get ready to go from being energy independent to mandated dependence on energy that’s not at all viable to run this country.

The article’s conclusion isn’t comforting at all:

Many economists consider the economic recovery after the 2009 recession the weakest rebound in the post–World War II era. Some business groups blamed that on higher taxes and expansive regulations. The Biden presidency will apparently provide another opportunity to test the notion that government regulation is the enemy of growth.

Because of the pandemic and the ugliness of the election, the economic boom times of Trump’s first three years in office have been forgotten by many. The American economy was humming along, setting records with the greatest of ease. Almost everything the Trump administration did to make that so will be undone by Biden. He will use the pandemic as cover for it all, of course.

When we do finally emerge from this COVID nightmare it would have been nice to quickly get back to an economy that could help people.

Now we’re going to get one that’s run by bureaucrats who insist that you remain financially burdened because that’s what’s best for the planet.

I don’t even like the planet that much.


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PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author ofDon’t Let the Hippies ShowerandStraight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.