Do you like apocalyptic movies? You know – the ones where some disaster has paralyzed the government and society is forced to fend for itself.
I do. I especially love the ending when the hero stands facing the sunrise, battered but not beaten, arms around his loved ones, facing a future with a new found strength.
But movies are not real. And in reality we are all thankful that the government is out there providing protection and infrastructure so we can spend our time raising, educating and loving our families – not scrounging for food or fighting for survival.
And yet there is something about those movies…
Obama says that our economic problems are due to Americans becoming too soft. But then he says, “We still have the best universities, the best scientists, and best workers in the world…we still have the most dynamic economic system in the world.” So then, what’s the problem?
Maybe there’s a clue in the movies?
Currently, the Federal Tax Code covers 17,000 pages and requires over 700 different forms. The IRS estimates Americans spend over five billion hours preparing taxes annually, draining $194 billion from the U.S. economy.
The Federal Registry now exceeds 75,000 pages. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that merely complying with these regulations costs businesses $500 to $600 billion per year.
“Over-regulation is hurting our economy, and unfortunately, the problem is only getting worse. Right now, federal agencies are at work on more than 4,200 new rules, 845 of which affect small businesses, the engine of job creation,” says Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
The problem is as old as the United States, as can be seen in this excerpt from the Declaration of Independence explaining the tyranny of King George, “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat of their substance.”
A Gallup poll released last month shows that by a margin of 45 to 24 percent, Americans believe that there is too much government regulation of business. When asked whether the government was doing too much that should be left to individuals the results were similar, 57 percent saying yes, while only 38 percent felt that the government should do more.
This is how Ronnie Bryant, a businessman in Birmingham, Alabama, reacted to overwhelming government regulations and politicians who wanted to demonize him for being successful:
“Nearly every day without fail…men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just…you know…what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home…basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting.”
And it’s not just mining operations. Boeing, another employer trying to create thousands of high-paying skilled jobs, has been blocked from opening a plant in South Carolina, a right to work state, due to interference from the National Labor Relations Board who felt they were only locating the plant in South Carolina to avoid forced unionization.
After the Senate in 2010 rejected an environmental bill that would have created a massive federal carbon regulation system, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would treat carbon dioxide (the air we breathe out) as a pollutant, becoming in essence unelected lawmakers and threatening America’s ability to produce power.
The EPA continues to this day ignoring a federal judge’s ruling that it acted illegally in prohibiting new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
“I’m not sure that there’s anything that is more detrimental to job creation – and certainly the confidence of the small businessmen and women across this country – than the onslaught of regulations that’s coming from this administration … What he should do is freeze all proposed federal regulations for six months starting today,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Others are saying the same thing.
At a banking conference in Atlanta last month, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, told Fed chairman Ben Bernanke that he fears new financial regulations are harming the banking industry and the economy.
Meanwhile Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers says there are just too many job-threatening regulations coming out of Washington, “Just this spring alone, the Obama Administration proposed 4,257 new rules and regulations … Excessive regulations threaten to slam the door on American job growth. They push jobs to China. They hurt our competitiveness and encourage Alabama manufacturers to look overseas.”
It’s time for the feds to get out of the way. No one is suggested anarchy, or that government should dry up and blow away. It’s just that at some point, over regulation becomes an albatross around the neck of a free market. And it looks like we have finally reached that point.
So Obama, tear down this wall of regulation that is strangling the American entrepreneur. Then, maybe we can get back to work … or at least go see a movie.