President Obama’s sunny day State of the Union Speech on Tuesday night painted a very optimistic picture of life in America thanks to his last seven years of leadership.
While the sky has not fallen, we are far from the care-free Sesame Street life that he’d like to think he got us to. Furthermore, he’s going to take more (executive) actions to get our nation where he want us. That’s what the next eleven months will be for.
On a practical level we can expect more business-crushing, freedom-limiting regulations that keep Washington bureaucrats busy and us more under their thumb.
The Obama Administration plans to unleash 4,000 new regulation on our economy that touch our daily lives from nutrition labels to e-cigarettes.
The impact of these new regulations won’t be minimal. An estimate puts the cost to industry at more than $100 million, but no one has calculated the unintended costs and the forgone value to society.
Some of the regulations include rules on chemicals involved in construction and fracking, new gun control measures, and changes in product labeling to disclose how much sugar is added to the foods we eat.
Politico reports what is most likely for the President to accomplish:
Gun control: In the aftermath of mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Charleston, S.C., the Obama administration has been “scrubbing” the books for possible executive actions, given Congress’s reluctance to enact any form of gun control…
Nutritional labeling: In March 2014, Michelle Obama held a ceremony in the East Wing to introduce a design overhaul of food nutrition labels… The most controversial proposed change was a new requirement that the labels disclose how much sugar food makers added to their products.
The rule would also update serving sizes for some products to bring them closer to the amounts people actually consume…
The final nutrition reg is expected in March, at an estimated one-time cost to the industry, the FDA says, of $2.3 billion (and a benefit estimated at $21.1 billion to $31.4 billion over 20 years).
E-cigarettes: The FDA also has in the works a rule extending its jurisdiction to e-cigarettes, which have become wildly popular with teenagers… Depending on the final composition of the rule, which may regulate other new tobacco products as well, its cost over 20 years could be anywhere from $20 million to $810 million, which might well put e-cigarettes out of business.
Retirement advice: By the end of March, the Labor Department is expected to publish a regulation requiring brokers who offer advice about retirement investments to … , consider only the best interests of the investor… The Labor Department calculates that complying with the rule will cost industry $2.4 billion to $5.7 billion over 10 years.
Energy efficiency: The Energy Department is working on dozens of new or updated efficiency standards for computers, gas furnaces, dishwashers, pool heaters, air conditioners, walk-in coolers and freezers, vending machines, ceiling fans, fluorescent lamp ballast, boilers, ovens, and hearths…
Teacher prep: The Education Department is set to publish as early as this month a long-delayed and contentious final rule overhauling how teachers are prepared for the classroom. The rule would cut off federal funding for any teacher prep programs that prepared their graduates poorly.
The Education Department said last year that implementing the rule would cost states and providers $42 million over 10 years… But advocacy groups, states, and teacher prep programs complain that it will cost far more…
Over the next few months bureaucrats will be on a mad dash to get these regulations finalized with an eye toward mid May. Congress has a limited amount of time (60 legislative days) to take actions to halt these rules taking effect. The President may veto whatever Congress might do, but his veto disappears if he is no longer in office. This could mean that Obama’s successor could undo the damage he does this year.
The mid-May deadline isn’t statutory or in any way official, but neither is it arbitrary. It arises from the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that gives Congress 60 legislative days to veto, by a special swift procedure, any regulation it dislikes before the rule takes effect.
The president may veto Congress’s veto, as Obama did the one time he faced this situation. But if the 60-day period extends past the inauguration of a new president, and if that president is of the opposing party — a President Donald Trump, say, or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio — any resolution of disapproval against his predecessor will surely go unchallenged.
Let’s hope that this host of crippling new regulations can be dispensed with by new leadership.
These are just a broad overview of the new regulations we can expect out of Washington that impact the daily lives of American families.
The larger question is why is government – specifically someone in Washington – telling us what we need to do, how much we should consumer, and how we should live our lives on a day-to-day basis. President Obama is inspired by a philosophy that common sense is no match for government and the Ivory Tower intellect. That someone else knows what’s best for me and my children and family. However, that philosophy diminishes the role of the individual to a pawn of intellectuals and government agents.
We uplift the autonomy and agency that every person should exercise over their lives. We are not lemmings to be led along by an elite few, but equal, free-thinking individuals who should respect the choices of our neighbors and be respected by the leaders.
One-size-fits-all regulations with no flexibility and little focus, just impose unnecessary burdens on all of us.