2014 was a year of substantial action by President Obama, and a new report tabulates just how much that action means for companies, consumers, and the economy.
According to a new report, the new regulations created nearly $200 billion in regulatory costs, 79,066 pages of regulation and greater restrictions on the operations of our economy’s innovators and job creators. The biggest culprits were from the Environmental Protection, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation and the Food & Drug Administration thanks to ObamaCare.
The EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants caused $8.8 billion, and even worse, will raise electricity prices for Americans by more than six percent by 2020. Proposed ozone limitations aimed at reducing smog could impose another $15 billion in costs. Then add another $1.5 billion in costs for Tier 3 vehicle emissions standards on auto manufacturers and refineries.
Remember, the new calorie labels required on all restaurant menus and vending machines imposed by ObamaCare? Those are predicted to carry a $1.6 billion price tag in compliance costs.
The Department of Energy (DOE) was also listed an "aggressive regulator" with two of the ten most expensive rules: energy conservation standards for fluorescent lamps and industrial electric motors. Both of these rules will lead to considerable initial price increases for consumers. Overall, the DOE added $3.6 billion in annual burdens.
Rules governing rear-view vehicle visibility from the Department of Transportation adds just shy of $1 billion in costs annually. And financial regulatory rules coming from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was formed during the economic downturn, proposed new rules for home mortgage disclosures at an estimated $527 million in annual costs.
There's some good news though. Paperwork declined last year – slightly.
POTUS didn’t get everything done that he wanted so we can expect even more for 2015, however.
As The Hill reports not everyone agrees with the report or more accurately, that new regulations are a bad thing:
But the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards said the study exaggerates the regulatory costs of 2014 and ignores the benefits of the proposed and final rules.
“Just look at the White House’s new Clean Power Plan to see why it’s wrong to ignore the benefits of safeguards,” said the coalition, which advocated for public protections.
“Cleaning up our nation’s power plants would cost less than $9 billion, but could yield more than $90 billion in future health and environmental benefits — preventing more than 6,000 premature deaths and as many as 150,000 asthma attacks annually.
“If this report demonstrates anything, it’s that some people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing,” the coalition said.
It's important to distinguish between those who oppose almost any regulation and those calling for a reduction in regulations. The question of the right level of oversight and protection from government is a key question with which we must grapple. Some would argue we need no regulations and must consumers and market forces freedom and that this would ultimately force abusers out of business. Others might make an argument for some third party (government) intervention in cases where consumers cannot apply enough pressure or market forces are too slow to remedy wrongs.
However we disagree, what we can agree on is that the rising trends of great regulations presents harm to businesses in the marketplace by raising the costs of doing business. Companies can only absorb those added costs for so long before they succumb. As a recent story, about a struggling, small business shut down because the rising labor costs were the straw that broke their backs, too much government regulation (regardless of how well-intentioned) has a real and lasting impact on workers, consumers, and our nation.