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Red Tape Rising: Obama's Costly Regulation Explosion

05-20-2015
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WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is smothering Americans with major expensive new regulations at double the pace of former President George W. Bush's administration.

Government continues to come up with about 3,000 new regulations every year. But critics say under the Obama administration, the pace of really expensive regulations being rolled out is mushrooming.

Those monster regulations cost at least $100 million each for businesses to comply with. Under President Barack Obama, the cost of those has more than doubled.

James Gattuso, Heritage Foundation's senior research fellow in regulatory policy, co-authored a new report about this leap of major regulations and their expense called, Red Tape Rising.

Jay Sekulow, with the American Center for Law and Justice, spoke more about the power unelected bureaucrats have to impose expensive regulations. Watch more below.

"For the past six years, there are $80 billion in new regulatory costs," Gattuso said. "That's $80 billion Americans pay every single year just from the new regulations. And that doesn't count everything that was put into place over the previous 200 years."

The Bush administration added just half that much in its first six years, some $40 billion.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, pointed out this week that when you combine all the costs of complying with America's more than 300,000 regulations built up over the decades, it totals $2 trillion or more every year.

"Only 10 economies in the world are larger than $2 trillion," Johnson explained at a Heritage Foundation panel discussion Tuesday on his new book.

"That's what we're burdening job creators with in this nation: a compliance cost that is bigger than all but nine or 10 economies in the world," he said.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, told CBN News there's a quick way out of this over-regulation crisis.

He pointed out that because these are regulations from federal agencies and not laws passed by Congress, a U.S. president has the executive power to just wipe them out with the stroke of a pen.

"A new president could actually unilaterally walk in and say, 'I want us to look at those rules again. I want to take away some of these executive actions,' Lankford told CBN News.

"Laws last a long time. Regulations can be shifted with a new executive. So it's important that we ask any presidential candidate, 'What are you going to do with regulations?'" he said.

Both senators at the panel discussion argued that Americans should make this a major issue in the 2016 election because over-regulation doesn't just drive up costs for businesses. They threaten to hem Americans in on every side and lessen their liberty.

"We need to understand the burden," Johnson urged. "And we need to in the end recognize we're all suffering the Stockholm syndrome and we've got to demand our freedom back."

Gattuso warned, however, it's going to get worse in the immediate future. He told CBN News the Obama administration is already promising in the next year or so many more of these major regulations that will each cost at least $100 million in compliance costs.

"They're showing about 120 new regulations in the pipeline," Gattuso said of the administration.

A whole group of these regulations will drive up the cost of power, with some experts warning it could cause energy prices to actually double.

Sen. Johnson said it's a perfect example of how regulations can cripple the U.S. economy because, as he explained, one thing that's always given America a very real competitive edge in the world is it's abundance of cheap power.

"If you're going to manufacture things, you need power," Johnson pointed out. "And cheap power's better than expensive power. So why are we with policies of this government trying to artificially drive up the cost of power? That is crazy."

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