Dismantling the Regulatory State is a Good Place to Start:
Part 2: Fasten Your Seat belts for Another Unbridled Year of Rules and Regulations

Turning to 2014, how will the year stack up for issuing federal rules and regulation sans Congressional involvement? Fasten your seat belts, for federal agencies are off to a running start! It will be a bumpy ride. Expect contentious fights ahead over many new rules stemming from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, Immigration, EPA regulations, Energy, Climate Change, and a host of other issues.

In the first three days of 2014 there were 141 new regulations issued by federal agencies. Of the 141 issued 119 are “rulemaking,” meaning they establish a new rule; twenty-three are “non-rulemaking,” meaning the regulation does not establish a new rule. It is no surprise that the largest group of regulations have to do with energy and environmental issues and were issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Noted here are two of the new EPA regulations set forth during the first three days of 2014:On Friday, January 3rd, the EPA published its final carbon capture regulation rule that is meant to remove potential obstacles in the implementation of carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) technology. These standards are viewed by many as a “war on coal” as carbon capture is costly and unproven

Also on Friday, January 3rd, the EPA proposed new standards for harmful emissions from new woodstoves and heaters. These standards would not take effect until 2015 and would only apply to wood heaters made after that. The claim is made that this rule would significantly reduce the pollution linked to heart attacks, strokes and asthma. The Hill, in its December 29, 2013 report, listed the ten biggest regulatory fights expected to take place in 2014:

1. Emissions standards for existing power plants. Obama has given the EPA until June to propose regulations limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants, the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change plan.

2. Regulations coming to e-cigarettes, cigars. The FDA is working on a regulation that could extend current rules to e-cigarettes, which produce vapor instead of smoke.

3. ObamaCare’s birth control mandate heads to court. The High Court is expected to hear arguments in the spring, agreeing as it did last November to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s so-called birth-control mandate.

4. Turbulence over plan to allow phones on planes. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted in mid-December, 2013, to consider lifting the longstanding ban on in-flight cell phone use. The prospect of loud conversations has sparked fierce opposition. While cell phone use is acceptable for FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, as it means fear about interference is no longer an issue, Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, could step in to prohibit in-flight calls by imposing a new regulation.

5. EPA to assert power over streams and ponds. The EPA has started the process of declaring that it has the power to regulate streams, brooks, and small ponds, as it seeks to clear up uncertainly about its powers under the Clean Water Act. This followed a Supreme Court ruling last year which cast doubt on the extent of the EPA’s authority

6. Smog rule on the way. Obama dealt a blow to environmental activists in 2011 when he killed an EPA attempt to issue new standards on ozone, said to be the main contributor of smog. Obama proclaimed at the time that regulatory burdens could hurt the still-struggling economy, and how new rules were not necessary since the EPA was scheduled to review smog standards in 2013. Significant strides are predicted in 2014..

7. SEC to force executives to disclose pay. This is one of hundreds of regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that has not yet been implemented as a way to tighten the government’s reins on the financial sector. This is a potentially contentious regulation for companies who do not wish to disclose the gap in pay between their chief executives and average employees. Predicted is that its fate may ultimately by decided in Courts.

8. Calorie count coming to restaurant menus. This is one of the lesser-known provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The provision also includes snacks sold in vending machines.

9. Delays to rearview camera rule under attack. The Department of Transportation is already two years late on a regulation requiring all cars to have rearview cameras or similar technology.

10. OSHA to rekindle combustible dust debate. Although OSHA began work on a rule to regulate combustible dust in 2009, spring is the target date for proposing a new resolution. Businesses complain of the cost involved.

Are you one of many Americans who fails to connect the dots between government spending and how more government affects your life? Must likely you were shocked at the 3,659 rules and regulations issued in 2013, never realizing that the cost of big government affects the broader economy by way of fewer jobs, less income, and more expensive products and services. Regulatory costs in 2013 amounted to $14,678 per family.

Mentioned by Thorner were two Rules and Regulations issued by the EPA in the first three days of 2014. Although the EPA might only cost taxpayers about $8 billion in operational costs, the regulations put forth by the agency cost the economy untold hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Regulations by the EPA were up 44% in Obama’s first term. Other active rule-producing agencies are the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, the Interior, Agriculture, and Transportation.

For your information, check out the Competitive Enterprise Institute report titled, Ten Thousand Commandments, which details the size, scope and cost of the federal regulatory behemoth, all 3,659 of them. cei.org/studies/ten-thousand-commandments-2013

As stated by Daniel Horowitz in The Hidden Tax of the Regulatory State:

Every Republican consultant is now giving advice on how to revive the languishing GOP. Some are pushing amnesty, others are pushing gay marriage, and still others are trying to resurrect compassionate conservatism. But we all know that the best strategy is one that effectively communicates to the American people how big government diminishes their quality of life. The regulatory state is a great place to start.

Dismantling the Regulatory State is a Good Place to Start: Part 1: Obama outshines Presidential peers: 3,659 Rules and Regulations during 2013

http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/01/thorner-dismantling-the-regulatory-state-is…

Thorner: Dismantling the Regulatory State is a Good Place to Start

Part 1: Obama outshines Presidential peers: 3,659 Rules and Regulations during 2013

Every Presidential administration issues rules and regulations, but President Obama and his administration head the pack of Presidential peers in the use of regulations to legislate directly, skipping the legislative process by stretching the rules and regulations issued beyond the letter of the law upon which they were meant to be founded.

According to the annual analysis by the “Competitive Enterprise Institute,” in 2013 the Obama administration issued 3,659 rules and regulations through its various agencies when only 65 Public Laws were passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. That averages out to 56 rules and regulations for every law passed by Congress.

But consider the absurdity of a Los Angeles Times article which lamented that Congress was ineffective because it only passed a few laws in 2013, 65 to be exact. Were laws ever meant to be easy to pass?

The 65 pubic laws passed in 2013 can be viewed HERE.

According to an article written by Sterling Burnett for the Daily Caller, we have an “Imperial Presidency” who rules through regulations. This concept dovetails with a stated commitment made more than once by President Obama in which he spoke of his unwillingness to wait for Congress to act.

The 3,659 rules and regulations issued in 2013 offer irrefutable credence to President Obama’s determination to disallow the people’s representatives to have their say on climate climate change, illegal immigration, etc., as Obama dwells on his legacy while ignoring the Constitutional separation of powers.

It is because Congress abdicated its assigned role of legislating, preferring instead to delegate that task to executive agencies, that Obama is now the recipient of what Congress has allowed to happen since the beginning of the Progressive era in the late 19th and early 20th Century. In the interim, Congress has not had the fortitude to hold Obama or any other president accountable for his power grabs, which have greatly increased in numbers over the years to the amazing figure of 3,659 rules and regulations issued last year by Obama and his administrative agencies. The Courts have likewise been participating in the power grab.

One Executive Order issued in 2013 by President Obama, the Dream Act, has resulted in a new wave of illegal immigrants who subsequently have been allowed to jump the immigration queue to please the open borders lobby. 24,668 unaccompanied minors from Honduras, Guatemala, El Savador, and Mexico crossed the southern border in 2013. In this nation illegally, they were placed in the care of a federal de facto baby-sitting service because no parents were around to care for them. Parents have no qualms about sending their young people to the U.S. if it’s easier to residency illegally than legally.

Today, Monday, January 13, the boundaries of executive power will be tested when the Supreme Court considers whether President Obama violated the Constitution during his first term through his use of executive power. According to an article by Kevin Bogardus an Ben Goad on Sunday, January 12, oral argument will center on a trio of recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board that were deemed unconstitutional by lower courts. To opponents of Obama’s run away regulatory power, the fight against the labor board (NLRB) is seen as a broader effort to stymie the Obama administration’s rules and regulations.

Part 2 will give a peek into the predicted rules and regulations Obama and his administration plan to enact, sans Congressional involvement, in 2014. Fasten your seat belts!

Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

 

Th-30  By Nancy Thorner – 

It is possible that President Obama was never advised that governing by Executive Order is not the wisest thing to do? It’s definitely not the panacea he may think it is! According to Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer, who teaches history and public affairs:

Administrative actions don’t have the same kind of impact in defining a president as big legislative accomplishments and they are more susceptible to being overturned. The next president can change them. That’s always the problem.

Noted recently in Business Insider, because of Obama’s limited ability to achieve his policy goals through legislation [brought about by his own belligerent attitude], he very well may increase his use of executive power on three of his legislative agenda priorities: 1) the farm bill, 2) immigration reform, and 3) a more lasting budget deal.

Rumblings are even under foot that Obama is seeking to halt insurance cancellations of individual insurance policies resulting from his healthcare law through means that wouldn’t require legislation.

In an Executive Order issued on Friday, November 1st, President Obama appeared to be seeking a chance to obtain a climate legacy as he faces the grim reality that much of his agenda is seemingly falling apart in Congress?  Obama lost on gun legislation earlier in the year.  There is a perception that immigration reform is on life support.  To top off Obama’s obvious frustration over his elusive, floundering agenda, what was to be his signature first-term achievement — Obamacare — suffered a disastrous roll out.  The promise of having the site up and running by Nov. 30th sounds like a pie-in-the-sky dream.

It was through the stroke of a pen that President Obama issued his latest executive order with its goal to prepare the U.S for the impacts of climate change.  Not unexpectedly there has been a mainstream media blackout since the mandate was signed and sealed on November 1st, insuring that Obama’s continued and blatant disregard of the division of power among three set branches of government has resulted in yet another under-the-radar abduction of control by Obama. This takeover concerns our nation’s climate change policy.  While the lack of concern by the mainstream media and others is predictable, inexcusable is why Congress is no where to be found with this latest usurpation by the President of their power?

Obama’s November 1st executive order builds on the Climate Action Plan unveiled in June, whose centerpiece was to be the application of new regulations to power plants.

Obama’s November mandate goes even further by citing facts from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which basically amounts to a rubber stamp of the highly questionable finding of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCP).

Following is an excerpt from President Obama’s new executive order, “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change”:

The impact of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economics, and public health across the Nation.  These impacts are often most significant for communities that already ace economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures.

New rules for power plants regulations mandate that CO2 emission from new coal-fired power plants are to be no more than 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hours of electricity produced.  The most efficient plant produces about 1,800 pounds.

In common layman language, the mandated rules would require a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions below that of the most efficient coal-fired plants, this despite the absence of surface warming in the past sixteen years and how climate models consistently overestimate global warming.  For all practical purposes, the new CO2 emissions rules would effectively prohibit the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

Also mandated by Obama’s Executive Order was the establishment of a volunteer “Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience” as a venue for suggesting ways in which the federal government can help communities face “the impacts of climate change,” including bracing for longer heat waves, heavier downpours, more severe wildfires and worse droughts.

This task force, to be composed of governors and mayor, must report to the White House within a year to suggest ways the government can best “remove barriers, create incentives and otherwise modernize federal programs to encourage investments, practices and partnerships that facilitate increased resistance to climate impacts, including those associated with extreme weather.”

Recommended suggestions will more than likely include infrastructure projects like bridges and measures to manage floor control. Such projects, however, do come with a hefty price tag, a tall order as no new federal funds were offered to support the task force.

Those who are tasked with carrying out Obama’s Executive Order are EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, both dedicated members of Obama’s green team.  McCarthy and Moniz are powerful advocates and defenders of the premise held by those who promote climate change action, “that the artificially contrived climate science debate has  ended.”

Gina McCarthy and Ernest Moniz will be making a series of speeches and media appearances to support and to promote what could provide the basis for a second-term climate legacy for Obama.

But things aren’t full steam ahead for McCarthy or Moniz in that a Pew Research Center poll conducted in mid-October shows that just 44% say believe that human activity causes global warming.  They will have lots of convincing to do on the trail.

As is so often the case, much in the same way Obamacare and the Common Core Curriculum are being sold to the public, executive orders are spun in a way to have the pubic believe that the government knows what is best for us. Here within lies the crux of the problem of Obama’s Executive Order on Climate Change:  It’s government grabbing for control which further involves following the money.

As reported by Fox News on November 1st in a story aired about Obama’s Climate Change mandate:

The federal government will control all of the purse strings  They will make certain that they get their piece of the pie, grabbing more taxes and funds to apply where and to whomever they please.  They will use all of the buzzwords platitudes necessary to lull their acolytes while lining their pockets and those of their cronies.  All the while creating a nation devoid of states’ rights. 

It goes without saying that the climate change mandate will result in crippling the economy and the economic well-being of the American people, all under the false and misguided premise that this nation and its people must be prepared for and made ready for what is only a perceived future climate change without scientific evidence or backing to merit the enactment of what would amount to extreme pain without gain!

Part 2:  Renowned scientists associated with The Heartland Institute bump heads with environmentalists at Chicago’s EPA listening tour, as the EPA prepares to draft new regulations to regulate greenhouse gases under the 40-year-old federal Clean Air Act.

Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

 

Without waiting for Congress, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday, January 16, a sweeping $500 million program to curb gun violence in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, which is sure to set up a fight over universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

In Obama’s announcement were a list of twenty-three executive “actions” in which Obama promised to use his presidential powers to act ahead of congressional approval. Most of Obama’s executive orders amounted to fluff, nothing really new, other than to prop up or enforcing existing law, but some are not without merit or beyond scrutiny.

Tucked away in item 18 is a mandate to beef up school security with armed guards. This was a dangerous, radical idea when Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, proposed it a week after the Sandy Hook tragedy, but now has official, if quiet and underfunded, sanction from the President.

Beefing up school security with armed guards has become one of the few substantive items on the President’s list, and a cornerstone of his action plan to protect our children.

There is also an end run around the privacy requirements built into HIPAA (item 2, “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act”), which was enacted on August 27, 1996, to protect health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Now Obama wants addressed unnecessary legal barriers that may prevent states from making personal health information available for HIPAA backgound checks.

With 2,700 pages, the new healthcare law gives the president near-dictatorial control over your healthcare, but who would have guessed that privileged conversations with our physicians would be so tempting to this President? If Obama gets his way doctors across the county could play a key role in his new gun control initiative by asking what type and how many guns do you have in your house?

Order 16, as summarized, simply states federal agencies will “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.” Already causing significant controversy, the Administration is planning to offer guidance clarifying that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), doesn’t prohibit or otherwise regulate communication between doctors and patients, including about firearms.

In a strange twist of fate, Obamacare contains an amendment (Sec. 2716, part c) which specifically forbids the Federal government from collecting data on firearm and ammunition purchases for lawful use, added as an accommodation to the NRA , which the President would dearly like to do.

Despite bold predictions by Vice President Biden, the wording in item 6 shows that Obama is doing “the crayfish” on this issue. In Louisiana terms, that’s pretending to “face” the problem while slowly backing away. Item 6, instructing FFL’s how to conduct background checks for private sellers, simply reiterates what FLLs do on a daily basis. Current law does not require background checks in private sales of firearms, only those conducted through FFL’s. Although the President did ask Congress to change the law, he made no attempt to do it by executive order.

Authorizing the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to investigate the cause and effect of gun crimes is another blind alley (item 14). In a 1995 study, the CDC concluded that gun laws, including the AWB and gun-free school zones, were ineffective.

The New England Journal of Medicine published an anecdotal article which posed that owning a gun was more dangerous to the owner than to an assailant. This study was faulty in several ways: (a) The ONLY way you can be injured with your own gun is if you own one. (b) 65% of all homicides with guns are suicides, yet the vast majority of suicides use drugs or suffocation. (c) According to criminologist Gary Kleck, more than 93% of all instances where a gun is used for self defense go unreported – no shots were fired or the defender would be in more trouble than the offender if reported (e.g., Chicago, NYC or Maryland). Of those incidents reported, shots were fired in only one time in one hundred.

The President also wants to aggressively prosecute illegal guns sales and gun running (item 13). Perhaps Obama should take care of his own house by first seeing to it that gun-walking Eric Holder and the top 6 appointees in BATF are suspended and brought to trial. Order 13 is nothing more than a pledge to enforce existing law. Prosecutions for falsification of background checks (form 4473) are almost non-existent. Connecticut has a record of only one prosecution since 1968. Even New York, the “shining example of gun control” only recently prosecuted the purchaser of the weapons used by ex-con, William Spengler, to kill two volunteer firemen and wound two others.

Calling for “universal background checks” is a matter for Congress to address, which even the President acknowledges. It is widely claimed that 40% of all gun sales are made without this safeguard. However, this figure is false, promoted mainly by the organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, headed by Michael Bloomberg of NYC.

The correct figure is closer to 6%. The erroneous statistic comes from interpretation of data collected in 1991, before background checks were instituted in the 1994 Gun Safety Act (aka AWB). A survey was taken of 251 gun purchasers, asking whether they bought firearms from a store or private dealer. It was later assumed that only stores conducted background checks. In fact, transactions through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) use the same forms and NICS checks as brick-and-mortar stores. All Internet sales and nearly all gun show sales involve an FFL. Many sales are between close relatives and through inheritance, which are exempted in both existing and Obama’s proposed regulations. The face to face sale between strangers is only about 6% of the total, not counting illegal transfers which won’t change regardless of the law.

Several items address gun safety issues, including item 15, which implies a renewed interest in “personalized” or biometric systems, which are expensive, unreliable and cannot be easily retrofitted. The most expensive tool is one that won’t do the job, and a “safety” system that disables the weapon in the time of need is downright dangerous to the owner. As for safety, nearly as many children (thirty drown by falling into mop buckets each year than by gun accidents (about forty). Being struck by errant gang shootings does not qualify as an accident.

Modern firearms are inherently “dangerous” when used properly, in once sense of the word. Otherwise, why would they exist. Truly accidental discharges are almost unheard of. A better term is “negligent” discharge. They can be dropped, kicked or otherwise abused without firing. You must deliberately (or injudiciously) pull the trigger. They won’t go off in a hot car – it takes a temperature of nearly 400 deg F to sizzle powder – pizza oven temperature – even then with more of a whimper than a bang.

In order to protect 2nd Amendment rights, the first priority of concerned citizens must be to persuade your Congressmen to eschew new restrictions on so-called “assault weapons,” and “high capacity” magazines, which under Feinstein’s proposal would include over 80% of handguns and rifles in common use.

Since fewer than 1000 homicides (1%) are committed each year with assault rifles, out of 30 million in circulation, by people who routinely ignore laws, nothing is gained by removing these guns from the vast majority of owners who have them for sport and self
defense?

What will work? Make the background checks more effective, and prosecute false statements. Make sure adjudications of mental illness, where the patient is likely to hurt himself or others, is reported to the NICS database (opinions don’t count unless supported by evidence and subject to challenge). Eliminate or limit most gun-free zones, including malls, theaters and most government buildings, which serve as “soft targets” for criminals. Lawful possession and carry should be licensed on a “shall issue” basis. Prosecute those who commit assaults, robberies or carry guns in schools unlawfully as ADULTS. The President seems averse to the latter, considering his voting record in his rare appearances on the legislative floor. http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/16/flashback-in-1999-obama-wouldnt-support-tougher-prosecution-for-school-shooters/

If universal background checks are required, a reasonable process should be established for private, non-FFL sales. Exchanges between family members and inheritances
should continue to be exempted.

It was noted on Friday, January 18, that Obama is mobilizing his campaign organization to pressure Congress and the public into supporting his gun law proposals. We foresee a series of speeches against a backdrop of worshiping supporters, highly publicized protest marches and a blizzard of TV ads. Obama will get a lot of favorable coverage from the main-stream media, but Congress will not likely be impressed. Obama’s appearances will be in areas which voted for him, large cities and such, which compose the Obama “choir”. It is doubtful that Phoenix will be on his tour, nor Salt Lake City or Indianapolis.

Since the press won’t check facts, it’s important for those of us who are concerned about the direction of our nation to continue to build our case with lawmakers, pro and con, on the key issues. We need to rally our supporters in Congress, and shake the confidence of our opponents. We are not in a position to make compromises. Our opponents won’t give an inch, and we shouldn’t make their job any easier. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/17/obama-campaign-arm-begins-gun-control-push/

There is no solution more likely to achieve positive results against violence than vigorous enforcement of existing laws, which is sadly lacking, nor any solution less effective than one directed at millions of law-abiding gun owners.

Published at Illinos Review on Monday, January 21, 2013.