This year’s election carries big implications for economic policy well beyond the budget and taxes.

In his first term President Obama presided over a big increase in the number of major new regulations (as measured by their economic impact), from air-cargo screening to fuel efficiency in trucks. On top of these come thousands of pages of new rules implementing financial-regulations and health-care reforms.

The White House has been quick to claim that the benefits of the new regulations will easily exceed the cost, even though economists have contested the way benefits are measured.

In that President Obama’s recent budget proposal called for at least $3.8 trillion in spending while failing to seriously address the national debt and the escalating costs of entitlement programs, much uncertainty exists over the increased cost and burden of regulations.

As columnist Charles Kadlec wrote in Forbes in regard to regulations and job creation, “the rapid growth in the regulatory burden under President Obama, and the Administration’s weak dollar/high oil price monetary policy are on-going impediments to full employment.”

Kadlec likewise argued that “the massive increase in federal spending under Obamanomics appears to have sucked the job-creating strength out of the rest of the economy.”

During Obama’s first three years in office, his administration unleashed 106 new major regulations that increased regulatory burdens by more than $46 billion annually, five times the amount imposed by by the George W. Bush Administration during its first three years.

In recent months, however, there has been a noticeable slowing of the Obama Administration rule making, where a number of major rules have remained under prolonged review by the White House. This is despite a Congressional mandate under the 1980 Regulatory Flexibility Act calling for a release every April and October of a description of all rules likely to have a significant economic impact.

Both the April 2012 and October 2012 agenda deadlines were ignored by President Obama. The last agenda released was in the fall of 2011, which then included a total of 2,676 regulations. By issuing a series of subsequent executive orders, Obama was able to extend agenda requirements of all regulations under development or review by some 60 departments, agencies, and commissions.

According to OIRA data 78% of the 151 regulations awaiting review have been pending at the office for more than 90 days, which exceeds the maximum time allotted under Executive Order 12866.

Obama’s disregard of the Regularity Flexibility Act stands in sharp contrast to his promise of an “unprecedented level of openness in government transparency.” For without adherence to the regulatory mandate, business planning becomes difficult and Congress is not able to engage in oversight.

The stakes are especially high because of the hundreds of rules related to Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation statute that has yet to be finalized.

It is no surprise that the EPA is the largest single source (a total of 29) of the regulations currently pending at OIRA. Twenty-seven are designated as “economically significant, meaning that their costs will exceed $100 million or more annually. The Department of Labor has eleven pending, the Departments of Energy and Transportation ten.

One EPA regulation that the independent, non-partisan Manhattan Institute estimates will cost the U.S. economy $700 billion has to do with greenhouse gas emission standards that would essentially ban all construction of new coal-fired power plants.

Never have so many EPA resources been devoted to a single regulation. If Obama wins, the EPA would have another four full years to implement their anti-fossil fuel agenda. If Romney wins, regulators would have a very narrow window to enact a select few costly regulations that would then be very difficult for a President Romney to undo. Woe to voters of Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to whom Obama is not telling the truth about his plans to shut down the coal industry!

Might a regulatory tsunami be coming if Obama wins re-election? Might we be experiencing a calm before the storm hits? You be the judge.

Among the most costly pending at OIRA are:

1. “A Department of Transportation (DOT) rule to require a rear-view camera and video display for all new cars and trucks at an estimated cost of up to $2.7 billion. The regulation was submitted to OIRA on November 16, 2011.

2. A DOT proposal to require “a means of alerting” blind and other pedestrians of approaching hybrid and electric vehicles. The agency has not developed a cost estimate but has concluded that “only beneficial outcomes will occur.” The proposal was submitted to OIRA on May 10, 2012.

3. Final revisions to the so-called Boiler MACT rules that impose stricter limits on industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators. The cost of the original rules was pegged at $9.5 billion by the EPA and $20 billion by the economic forecasting firm IHS Global Insight (for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners). The stringency and cost of the original rules provoked an outpouring of protest and some 5,800 comments citing technical and statutory errors. Ultimately, EPA officials were forced to undertake revisions, which were submitted to OIRA on May 17.

4. Proposed limits from the EPA on formaldehyde emissions from hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard (replicating standards established by California in 2007). The regulation would also set standards for testing and certification of compliance. Estimates of the regulatory cost exceed $100 million. The proposal was submitted to OIRA on May 5.

5. Proposed energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers (pending since October 2011) and commercial refrigeration equipment (February 2012), which apply to virtually all refrigerated equipment used in retail food stores—and estimated by the Department of Energy to increase manufacturing costs by $500 million over four years. Likewise, stricter energy standards for manufactured housing (December 2011) would add $1,269 to the cost of a multi-section unit and $889 for a single-section home—increases that would reduce sales of manufactured homes by an estimated 4.8 percent.

6. Proposed regulations from the Food and Drug Administration on the production, harvesting, and packaging of fruits and vegetables, pending since December 9, 2011. The rules would affect more than 300,000 domestic and foreign farmers and packers of fresh produce.

7. Department of Labor restrictions on worker exposure to crystalline silica (fine particles of sand common to mining, manufacturing, and construction). The stricter rules, pending since February 14, 2011, cover methods of compliance, exposure monitoring, training, and medical surveillance. One analysis submitted to OIRA by engineering and economic consultants estimated $5.5 billion in annual compliance costs and the loss of 17,000 “person-years” of employment and $3.1 billion of economic output each year.”

Following is an overview of Obama vs. Romney on Government Regulations by Michael Hirsh of National Review, updated on August 23, wherein the General philosophy of each presidential candidate is defined:

“Obama approaches regulation as a pragmatist. He wants “basic rules of the road” to make the economy more fair, based on the painstakingly thought-out views of Cass Sunstein, the University of Chicago scholar who headed his Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for more than three years. Sunstein propounds a somewhat oxymoronic philosophy he calls “libertarian paternalism,” which seeks to “nudge” people in the direction of rational behavior through rules and regulations that carefully balance costs and benefits. It attempts to reduce regulators’ roles by requiring businesses to disclose, on their own, more information—say, about fees—in an easily accessible way. But it assumes that many people need government help to make informed decisions on such key issues as choosing a health care plan.” . . .

“Romney takes a classic conservative approach to regulation, a critique of big government that has been turbocharged by tea party fervor. His criticism of Obama focuses in large part on what he condemns as “excessive regulation” and taxes that he says have made U.S. businesses uncertain about hiring and expanding. According to “Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Growth,” Obama’s “major initiatives,” including health care, “represent a quantum increase in the scale of the regulatory burden” on the U.S. economy. Romney plans to impose a “regulatory cap” on agencies that would force them to find offsetting cost reductions for any new regulations they want to impose. Even so, as Massachusetts governor, he imposed new regulations for health care and, for a time, the environment.”

Unlike Democrats who support their fellow Democrats through thick and thin, when Mitt Romney wins the presidency his fellow Republicans will not be hesitant to hold his feet to the fire if President Romney tries to fudge on his pre-election promises!

Published initially at Illinois Review on Monday, November 25, 2012

Now that the three presidential debates and the vice-president match-up are history, the end game is upon us. President Obama is asking for our vote to elect him to another four years in office, but has Obama’s record during his first term given most Americans the reassurance that another four years wouldn’t trigger a status quo performance on steroids?

Romney’s debate performances erased the Obama campaign’s effort (down the drain went countless of millions of dollars) to portray Mitt Romney as a rich fool who cares nothing about the middle class. Instead, Romney came across as one who looked presidential, had command of the facts, and whose economic background would bode will for this nation. With little time left before November 6th, Obama is rushing to define himself.

How might this be possible upon consideration of the Treasury Department’s newly released summary of federal spending for 2012? Here’s the upshot: 1) Under Obama. for every $7 we’ve had, we’ve spent $10.95. That’s like a family who makes $70,000 a year — and already knee-deep in debt — blowing nearly $110,000 a year. 2) In fiscal year 2012 ending on September 30, the government took in $2,449 trillion but spent $3,538 trillion, 44 percent more than it had available to spend. The resulting deficit was $1,089 trillion. 3) During Obama’s first term the national debt ballooned to over $16 trillion, more than $6 trillion higher than during 2008 when Obama bemoaned what he called the “orgy of spending and enormous deficits” under Bush.

And what did Obama recently say about the debt?: “We don’t have to worry about it in the short-term.” In other words, if you have $7, spend $11 instead, and let future generations of Americans worry about it.

Consider also before voting:

1. Gas prices have doubled since the Obama administration took over,.

2. College Graduates are living at home because they can’t find work.

3. Most peoples’ net worth has gone down considerably in the last 4 years.

4. Class welfare and racism have been pushed further to split this country.

5. More people are on food stamps than ever before.

6. President missed more half of his 1/2-hour Foreign Relations briefing in the White House.

7. GM still owes tax payers billions. Chevy Volt is a disaster,

8. President’s budget was turned down by 100 percent of Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

9. President’s comment — “You didn’t build that” — was an affront to entrepreneurs and small business people. Clearly Obama doesn’t understand Capitalism and Free Enterprise.

10. Green energy companies like Solyndra — 36 so far — having received federal support from taxpayers, have either gone bankrupt or have laid off workers and are heading for bankruptcy.

11. European-Style government doesn’t work and has never worked in the world’s history. Observe Greece, Spain and other European countries who are suffering right now. It is the ability for people to work hard and be successful in their own right, not Government handouts.

12. Emails released on October 23 show that the White House knew the Benghazi attack of the US.consulate on 9/11 was a terrorist attack, not a spontaneous attack over a video. Unfolding is a series of emails alerts on 9/11 by the State Department Operations Center — as Obama administration officials were monitoring the attack in real time — sent through distribution lists and email accounts for the top national security officials at the State Department, Pentagon, the FBI, the White House Situation room and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.–abc-news-politics.html

13. For Christians, America’s Most Biblically Hostile U.S. President with Acts of hostility toward people of ‘Biblical faith and Acts of hostility toward Biblical values.

Reason number twelve should be deeply troubling to the American people, for if our President is capable of such deception where four Americans were murdered, including Ambassador Stevens, what else is he capable of? Honesty and integrity is demanded of our president. President Obama must be held accountable by the American people who elected him, having believed in him back in 2008.

You must decide, but will some of you allow yourself to be fooled once again by a smooth talker who continues to make promises, even though first term promises were abject failures, and in light of how Obama refuses to admit blame or to accept responsibility for his misguided and disastrous actions, not wanting to destroy his own self image, thereby putting himself and his own welfare above that of the American people?

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold

When we mentioned assets as equity or debt in a previous post, we neglected to mention that assets can also take the form of cash, rather than investments or growth. In a strange twist of logic, saving money may be harmful to the economy, because savings don’t yield much in terms of earnings, and further don’t translate into goods, services and jobs.

Companies and individuals are retaining cash as a hedge against an uncertain future, as cash on hand allows companies to react quickly to changes in the economic environment. Unfortunately, this practice is especially reviled by Keynesian economists, and frequently cited by Democrats as proof that corporations and wealthy individuals are holding back the recovery. The implied threat to seize this cash in some way becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. The greater the threat, the more retrenchment against that threat.

For multi-national corporations, the easiest way to keep their cash out of reach of Washington is to keep revenues generated overseas in those countries, under governments more friendly to business. This practice is, in fact, encouraged by Washington, to the extent that repatriated cash from foreign operations is subject to double taxation – in the country of origin and the United States. Many countries are more generous in allowing credit for taxes paid to other countries, notably throughout the European Union.

Individuals receive much less protection, except that foreign corporations benefit from favorable tax treatment in those nations, resulting in higher profits and dividends, hence higher returns for investors. Distributions to U. S. citizens are taxed as income, regardless of the country of origin, but the investments which generate this income benefit other countries even more. A company in the Cayman Islands has a 20% tax advantage over companies based in the United States. People invest there, Including Harry Reid (Senate majority leader) and Sally Wasserman Schultz (DNC Chairman), not for tax evasion, but because they can make more money even after taxes. As a result, our tax policy creates jobs in other countries, rather than in the United States. You can’t say jobs are being shipped overseas when they were never in the US, but the effect is the same.

Regarding those in the so-called middle class, they have less to spend and even less inclination to do so. If they buy cars and houses, it is because they have no alternative. If they move to find work or keep their job, or need a reliable way to get to work, they must dig into their savings, or do whatever else is called for, like skimping on necessities or borrowing if possible. The recent bump in car sales and real estate is probably temporary, because cars wear out (the average age is now over 9 years), and you need a place to live relatively close to work. Perhaps you know a “two coast” family, split apart by their jobs. Maybe it’s good for the economy, on paper anyway, to pay both mortgage AND rent, when the family can’t sell their house and move together.

Quite surprising was President Obama’s closing statement in the 2nd presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Obama, with a straight face, told the American people that he believes in the free enterprise system. This came from one who has single-handedly destroyed jobs in the energy and manufacturing sectors with his tax philosophy based on redistribution of wealth (a trickle-up economy) realized by soaking the rich as a way to spread the wealth around. Mr. President, when has a poor person ever created a job? Unfortunately, this is not the only example where the President says one thing and does another.

Placing the burden of taxation on the wealthy has another effect which is often ignored. The vicissitudes of the economy affects investment income even more than wages. When you depend on taxing the wealthy, this volatility affects the ability of governments to plan for the future; and an extended dip in the economy causes a disproportionate drop in tax revenue. This affects states as well as the nation. California is a notable example where even now, tax increases are directed to the most successful companies and individuals. The effect is compounded when these individuals move from the state, or remove their assets, sometimes out of the country. While it is politically safe to tax a tiny minority to the benefit of the majority, it divides the country between those who produce and those who consume, and places few boundaries on what the majority are willing to spend.

Bad government in California translates to a booming economy in Texas. The West coast, otherwise known as the “Left” coast, is being left behind. The East coast, notably New York, has the same problems, which generates the same responses. Assets are streaming to the south and midwest. The Northeast should, perhaps, be relabeled the “Wrong” coast. “Right” just doesn’t seem to work in this context.

Romney has the right idea.

Published initially at Illinois Review on Thursday, October 18.

Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment plan exposed: a national and state Ponzi scheme or Putting Lipstick on a Pig!
The giant $1 trillion stimulus package — this seems to be the spending floor — that Obama wanted on his desk by his swearing-in on January 21, but whose date has now advanced to mid-February, is nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme marketed as a way to spend ourselves out of this economic downturn. It will involve money that this nation doesn’t have to spend. It would be the biggest government spending bill in world history, charged to this nation’s credit card for our children to pay without safeguards and appropriate hearings to scrutinize how the tax dollars are being spent. The money will either have to be borrowed or printed (unbacked paper) which could cause double-digit inflation in 6-to-18 months, as it is not possible to raise enough taxes from people or businesses in a down economy.

All this is happening at a time when we in the private sector are tightening our belts. One day the piper will have to be paid.

In truth, behind the promise of jobs and an economic rebound seems to be is political motive that seeks to build an enduring and a lasting Democrat majority through the doling out of government money to Democrat mayors, Labor Unions, environmental groups, etc. All are lining up like pigs at a trough to feast for a piece of the pork from what amounts to a large government slush fund. Already the U.S. Conference of Mayors has forwarded to Congress a list of 11,391 infrastructure projects. There are likely to be many “bridges to nowhere.” Remember the “Big Dig” in Boston? What was suppose to cost 1.4 billion dollars escalated to 22 billion. Still taxpayers face a yearly bill of 100 million dollars for maintenance. It is not reasonable to think that the 25,000 workers losing their jobs in financial services on Wall Street will regain them as government-paid construction workers laboring on infrastructure projects.

Concerning Chicago and Illinois, Tom F. Roeser — chairman of the editorial board of Chicago’s internet newspaper, “The Chicago Daily Observer”, and a radio talk show host, writer, lecturer, and teacher — wrote astutely in his blog on 12/12/08: “Daley hopes Obama will open the federal spigot of his stimulus package so a floodtide of new construction, land acquisition and jobs will flow into Chicago, not so much to satisfy his zest for winning the Olympics for Chicago in 2016, but out of his desire to nurture in perpetuity his machine politics.”

Jon Holkevitch in his “Tribune” commentary of Dec. 25, 2008, “Illinois transportation projects sought as part of the federal stimulus package,” wrote how planning and transportation experts are expressing concern that “the state’s track record of too much politicking and too little discipline over project selection creates a risk that the one-time-only infrastructure bailout could be frittered away.”

Of concern is that Obama’s $1 trillion stimulus plan is patterned after FDR’s New Deal which did nothing to pull this nation out of the Great Depression. Lyndon Johnson’s socialist-based Great Society programs also failed in the 60’s. While there is some controversy over the rate of employment in the 30’s under Roosevelt’s New Deal frantic spending programs (Roosevelt was elected president in 1932), it is well to note that in 1939, five years into the New Deal, unemployment still stood at 17.2%. At the time Henry Morgenthau, FDR’s Treasury secretary, lamented: “I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started.” It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese to jump start this nation’s economy through the start up of war time industry and production.

Where are the expressions of outrage over the national debt? Debt no longer seems to matters to many Americans. Debt certainly factored as an issue during the presidency of George W. Bush. Unfortunately the American people have been scared into believing that this nation is in a hopeless mess, that because this is an emergency spending has no limits, and that free enterprise and capitalism have failed.

Fearful of the freedom to make choices and the responsibility that comes with it, and captivated by rhetoric that spoke of hope and change and the promise of a free lunch, 52.7% of the American voters, lured into accepting that centralization of power under government can solve economic and societal problems better than capitalism under the free enterprise system, elected Barack Obama as president last November.

This nation stands on the brink of a socialist abyss which could very easily morph into a full-blown socialist society, minus a despot. We are becoming a “government with people” instead of a “people with a government” as envisioned by our founding Fathers and set forth in our nation’s Constitution. Its people are becoming like sheep.

Obama’s stimulus package could suck a trillion dollars out of the private economy. Has any consideration been given to what will happen down the road if all the bullets have been used up and the economy has still not responded? Possible consequences could be 2 – 3% inflation every month with prime rates rising to 6 – 7% and even 10%.

From now until mid-February when Obama is likely to sign the stimulus bill, the final bill will undoubtedly have under gone many changes. Even now there are tugs of war going on. What Republican legislators want included in the final bill conflicts with Democrat ideology of more government bureaucracy and spending, which, minus competition from the private sector, routinely results in waste, fraud, and inferior service.

The solution to resurrecting this nation’s economy lies in restricting the growth of government, legislating tax cuts across the board, and slashing regulations. It is unbelievable that corporate taxes here in the U.S. are 1/3 higher than in the socialist utopia of Sweden! Democrat legislators seem inclined to direct America back to the frightful economic conditions of the 30’s. There is no way this nation can survive if the national debt continues to expand, as some feel it will, to 20 billion dollars under eight years of an Obama presidency. Also looming ahead is 52 trillion dollars of unfunded debt that is owed to America’s Baby Boomers. All will result in economic bankruptcy. It is our children and future generation of Americans who will suffer.

Republican legislators should not sell their souls to the devil for token tax cuts offered by Democrats under the guise of making the bill appear bi-partisan to the American people, for down the road at the next election the American people will surely judge those who fashioned the stimulus recovery bill and the effectiveness of its measures.

This country was founded on individual liberty and a self-reliant citizenry with an entrepreneurial spirit. By restricting the resources of the American people to create, invest and achieve wealth under a free market, capitalist system, lost will be the survival instinct which served this nation so well in the past.

As America moves increasingly toward the undesirable and destructive nature of a socialist welfare state, it is well to remember the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson when he wrote: “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated (in the Constitution).”

In 2009 the “general welfare” has come to mean to many Americans the right to have a college education, to have health care, to be employed, to be able to afford a house, etc. These rights are not enumerated in our Constitution. As such our nation’s Constitution is being eroded and with it our constitutional form of government. Sadly, most Americans seem not to care. They realize not that socialism has failed whenever and wherever it has been tried.