The Obama administration is preparing to give the middle finger to the American electorate by ignoring the results of the recently held election and continuing with Obama’s efforts to “transform” America.
The president has been unable to effect much transformation via Congress, so he has once again picked up his pen and is readying a dizzying array of new regulations from a dozen different agencies that will massively increase the burden on American business.
Seventeen of the planned regulations are classified as “economically significant,” meaning their impact will be at least $100 million on business.
Regulations on commodities speculation, air pollution from the oil industry, doctors’ Medicare drug payments and high-skilled immigrant workers are among the rules moving through the pipeline as Obama’s administration grasps at one last chance to cement his legacy. So are regulations tightening states’ oversight of online colleges and protecting funding for Planned Parenthood.
Also moving ahead are negotiations on an investment treaty with China and decisions by the Education Department on whether to offer debt relief to students at defunct for-profit colleges. The Department of Transportation may also go ahead with a ban on cellphone calls on commercial flights and a rule requiring that most freight trains have at least two crew members on duty.
Some agencies are pulling back, fearful that Trump and the GOP-led Congress will use a seldom-invoked legislative tool to permanently wipe out their 11th-hour regulations. For example, the Interior Department has failed to release a long-awaited rule to protect streams from coal mining pollution — and indications are it might never issue it.
But other agencies have signaled full steam ahead despite the threat of Republicans consigning their work to oblivion, in a dynamic that will be crucial to deciding how much of Obama’s legacy survives the ascendant Trump era.
“As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy wrote agency employees the day after the Nov. 8 election. “Thank you for taking that run with me. I’m looking forward to all the progress that still lies ahead.”
As many as 98 final regulations under review at the White House as of Nov. 15 could be implemented before Trump takes office. Seventeen regulations awaiting final approval are considered “economically significant,” with an estimated economic impact of at least $100 million a year.Miffed congressional leaders are warning the agencies to halt their work on so-called midnight regulations, specifically objecting to Obama’s call earlier this year for “audacious executive action.” In a letter to agency heads on Nov. 15, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and every House committee chairman cautioned them “against finalizing pending rules or regulations in the Administration’s last days.”
“Should you ignore this counsel, please be aware that we will work with our colleagues to ensure that Congress scrutinizes your actions — and, if appropriate, overturns them.”
The Heritage Foundation gives us the grim news in a study they created last August before the new regs were announced:
The number and cost of federal regulations increased substantially in 2015, as regulators continued to tighten restrictions on American businesses and individuals. The addition of 43 new major rules last year increased annual regulatory costs by more than $22 billion, bringing the total annual costs of Obama Administration rules to an astonishing $100 billon-plus in just seven years.
The effects of this rampant rulemaking are widespread. Among them: higher energy rates from the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan”; increased food prices for both people and pets as a result of excessively prescriptive food production standards; restricted access to credit for consumers and small businesses under Dodd–Frank financial regulations; fewer health care choices and higher medical costs because of the Affordable Care Act; and reduced Internet investment and innovation under the network neutrality rules dictated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Barack Obama issued more major regulations in six years than George Bush did in eight.
Needless to say, these regulations and the way they are implemented are destroying jobs and preventing jobs from being created— except in the regulatory compliance field. According to the Wall Street Journal in 2014, one of the hottest careers in America was that of a compliance officer.
Only larger businesses are able to carry a full-time compliance officer to guide a company through the regulatory maze Washington forces small businesses through. And since 70% of new jobs are created by small businesses, you can see how job growth has been crushed by this president’s mania for control of the American economy. Fewer businesses are created, too.
Most of these new regs will die before they’re implemented thanks to a GOP Congress. But the arrogance of Obama to push these restraints on business, knowing the results of the election and knowing full well that Congress is only going to repeal them, is astonishing.