Obama regulated business less than Bush

If President Obama is killing business with all his liberal private sector hating regulations than former President Bush must have been launching predator missile attacks at corporations all across the country. As it turns out the Obama administration has actually introduced 5% fewer regulatory rules than Bush thru the same time period in their presidency’s.

The average annual cost to businesses is higher under Obama than under his predecessors though. The increase is estimated to total no less than $100 million and no more than $4.1 billion, or at most three one-hundredths of a percent of the total economy.

Republican presidential candidates say Obama is stifling job creation by imposing rules on businesses, and House Republicans have vowed to rein in proposed regulations on everything from the environment to health care to banking.

“This is getting picked up and talked about, but not for any good reason,” Michael Livermore, executive director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, said in an interview. “There’s nothing new about this attack: It comes and goes in good times and in bad.”

Obama approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, while  Bush cleared 643 in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database.

The number of significant federal rules, those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for Bush Sr. over the same period in their first terms. In part that’s due to $100 million having more worth in the past than it does now because of inflation.

In the last 12 months through the end of September, the cost range of new regulations is estimated to be $8 billion to $9 billion, a decrease from 2010, according to the non-partisan GAO.

That total put the average annual cost of regulations under Obama at about $7 billion to $11 billion, compared with the $6.9 billion average from 1981 through 2008 in current dollars. The record came in 1992 under George H.W. Bush when that total hit $20.9 billion in current dollars. In the last year of President Reagan’s term it was $16 billion in today’s dollars.

Republicans contend that the issue is about more than raw numbers. It’s about how businesses perceive the regulatory environment.

“This goes to the issue of uncertainty,” Jeff Rosen, a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Washington and outside adviser to Romney, said in an interview arranged by the campaign. “For many businesses it’s not only that they’ve been hit by all these rules in 2009 and 2010, but there are 219 economically significant rules coming down the pike.”

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 18 percent of small business owners rate regulation as their most important problem, second to overall economic demand.

“I feel as though this is 1980 all over again, when we had a serious invasion of regulatory overkill,” C. Boyden Gray, who was a senior official in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, told a congressional panel today. “We’re at a stage now where things have just gotten out of control.”

All of this uncertainty and fear of regulation doesn’t seem to line up with reality. According to U.S. Labor Department statistics the impact of regulations on layoffs has been small. Of the 7,247 mass layoffs last year, those involving at least 50 workers, 18 were the result of government regulation. Of the 3,114 mass layoffs in the first half of this year, 11 were related to government regulation. By comparison, 1,053 mass layoffs were attributed to business demand.

Obama has taken steps to address or some may say cave to Republican criticism. In January, he issued an order forcing all departments to avoid direct regulation and to take a look at current rules and scrap those harming the economy. In September, he squashed his own proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten smog rules. That decision has raised concerns about whether the president will implement, scrap or scale back a handful of other pending regulations estimated to cost at least $1 billion a year. Those rules include limiting pollution from power plants, setting pollution standards for boilers, limits on how many hours truck drivers can spend behind the wheel each day, and requirements for rear-view cameras on vehicles.



  1. Ahh, but you see, Obama tried to enact a lot more but was blocked by Congress and we, the American People.

    Sadly, there’s also all the added regulations that were bundled into ObamaCare and other omnibus bill which are conveniently not scheduled to go into effect until after the 2012 elections.

  2. Do you seriously think that Obama is out to harm the economy? Sadly the American people are blaming regulations as the problem, not the real source. Most regulations are just common sense and save us money in the long run.

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