Regulated to Death – the stealth jobs killer

Bob Beauprez
Posted: May 20, 2012 12:01 AM

"But, in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."

Ben Franklin

If Ben Franklin were around today, he would likely amend the above statement to include the certainty of government regulation.  A new report by the Heritage Foundation says that in today's America, regulation costs are a far greater burden than taxes.  If the current trend of rapidly increasing regulatory burden by the Obama Administration continues, it will hasten the death of the once great American free-market economy.

According to a newly released Heritage Foundation analysis, the annual cost of federal regulations ($1.752 trillion) is 83% greater than the entire revenue expected to be collected from federal individual income taxes for 2011 ($956 billion). 

There is broad agreement that the U.S. Corporate tax rate – the highest of developed nations in the world – is an inhibitor to badly needed job creation and economic growth.  Even Barack Obama has given lip-service to lowering the excessively high 35% business tax rate.  However, the cost of regulation is 8.8 times greater than the total corporate tax revenue ($198 billion) collected in 2011.  

Obama has made a habit of demonizing the "huge profits" of corporations, particularly energy companies.  But, consider this: Annual regulatory costs exceeded the total combined pre-tax profits of American corporations by more than $400 billion in 2009, the pit of this recession.  With profitability returning somewhat in recent months, analyst's current projections suggest regulation cost and pre-tax profit are currently roughly equal. 

Compared to the cost and impact of taxes, regulation gets relatively little attention, but it is like a cancer to the economy – a stealth killer – that grows and grows, dragging down the body until it just can't take anymore and finally succumbs.  Instead of attacking the regulatory cancerous tumor and shrinking it, under the Obama Administration new regulations have exploded, and he is forever calling for more.

At a time when more than 20 million Americans are out of work or underemployed and the U.S. economy is stuck in neutral, Barack Obama has paradoxically ramped up regulation rather than provide relief.  The federal register now exceeds 80,000 pages of government commandments we all must follow.  Already bloated regulatory agency budgets exploded by 16% in 2010 and hiring increased by 13%. 

Hundreds of new regulations have been promulgated and 4200 more are "in the pipeline,"  and that doesn't count the vast majority of ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and much more of Obama's "transformational agenda" that is in the works.  Predictably for this President, the morning headlines say yet again that he is calling for – you guessed it – more regulation.   As always, he says government must save us from our evil selves.  It will help us "keep moving forward," he believes. 

The only direction Barack Obama has America moving is toward a cliff.  Our great nation desperately needs a course correction, and we pray it comes on November 6, 2012 with the election of Mitt Romney.