Over-Regulation Is Choking The Life Out Of Business


© Copyright 2012 Susan Stamper Brown

I guess we were supposed to be encouraged last week when the regulator-in-chief pulled out his plastic preschool scissors while promising to cut the government down to size. “The government we have is not the government we need,” Obama announced to a group of business owners at the White House on January 13, 2011. Obama promised he’d snip off a scant $3 billion over the next ten years — in exchange for just a little more power.

Given the increase in the size of government since Obama took office, he’ll need an earth mover to make any real difference. Next week he’ll be selling snake oil in the Rose Garden to reduce the deficit. There are many areas in government to cut, chief among them are excessive regulations, which are choking the life out of small businesses in this country. The Obama administration cannot be part of the problem and the solution at the same time.

Awhile back, a friend of mine decided to chase his version of the American dream. He did his homework; purchased quality used equipment via the internet, and signed a lease – in hopes of opening a small mom and pop style yogurt shop near Charleston, S.C. He’s a smart businessman, who tries to calculate his decisions carefully.  Nonetheless, it wasn’t long before he found himself tangled in a web of regulatory red tape. He was told he needed to purchase environmentally friendly grease trap equipment, although no frying is involved in serving non-fat yogurt.  It didn’t stop there.  Additional environmental requirements like the installation of specialized wastewater drains, and tens of thousands of dollars for more unessential equipment left him watching his hopes of the American dream go down the drain, along with any hopes of hiring new people should his business succeed.

My friend is not alone; his experience has become all too common in the Obama administration’s new regulatory normal. South Carolina’s Nikki Haley said it best when she recently told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “I need a partner in the White House.” Haley claimed the hardest thing about her job had been the federal government intrusion into South Carolina’s business. Though she was a Tea Party favorite, Haley endorsed presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. She said Romney promised to keep the federal government out of South Carolina’s way, so it can create jobs.

My friend’s experience, along with the Department of Labor’s January 7, 2012 unemployment report  showing an increase in unemployment by 24,000 over the last week makes it quite clear increased regulation is making matters worse. Over-regulation has turned the country once hailed as the Land of Opportunity into a place where opportunity only happens in your dreams.

According to a July 25, 2011 Heritage Foundation article titled “Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report,” the Obama administration has enacted “75 new major regulations from January 2009 to mid-FY 2011, with annual costs of $38 billion.” Between October 1, 2010 and March 21, 2011, the administration completed 1827 “rulemaking proceedings,” environmental and otherwise, some of which will directly affect private sector start-ups.

The Heritage report found that Obama has outdone his predecessors in that “no other president has burdened businesses and individuals with a higher number and larger cost of regulations in a comparable time period.”

And the worst is yet to come when you look at the job-killing, business-quelling regulations under Obamacare’s 159 new government offices and programs, the EPA’s seven new environmental regulations that will cost businesses $38 billion annually, in addition to compliance costs of $100 billion, and the 2400-page Dodd-Frank bill the Harvard Business Law Review cites as “the most significant regulatory overhaul since the New Deal.”

The cost of over-regulation is compounding exponentially, and in the process, is destroying the Land of Opportunity, dream by dream.

But don’t just take my word for it, ask my friend.


6 Responses to Over-Regulation Is Choking The Life Out Of Business

  • Since when did the federal government regulate grease traps? Sounds like a problem caused by your (overwhelmingly Republican) local and state government, dimwit.

    • The issues my brother dealt with were mainly environmental/EPA issues. The “grease trap” is to prevent grease from draining into the water systems.

      Thanks for writing.

  • Alan, what is with the name calling? The author makes a perfectly valid point using various facts and first hand evidence. It seems to me that the federal government is “at war with” to use an overused cliche – maybe I should say “at odds with” – its own citizens who want to create social and economic value in small business. The IRS, as we speak, is massing small armies of revenue agents to go after small business. Many people in our world, who are not being nursed by government jobs or involved with large corporations, create major collective social and economic value via small businesses, which Obama’s government seems intent on shutting down. Small business has been the primary engine of job creation. Obama’s bailouts, union kowtowing, and government expansion are, without any doubt, destroying the fabric of our once great country.

    Do you know how many private industry jobs it takes to support the average government job? Are you aware of the huge deficit (sovereign debt in relation to GDP) and the rate of its increase in recent years? Is there any other rational alternative than to massively downsize federal government and reverse Obama’s crushing taxes (and the burden of their complexity) and regulations which favor unions, government workers, and certain cherry picked corporations like GMC, GE, and certain solar energy firms? I refuse to conclude my post by calling you a name, Alan, so let’s just say fare-the-well.

  • I came across this article via the Suffolk News Herald and found it very interesting. I do not own a small business but I work for one. We are a big company but still a small business if that makes sense. My livelihood depends on two things: my work performance and the success of the company I work for. I don’t need the federal government to “regulate” my employer of inane things like grease traps. Even though some may point the finger at the Republicans, I point my finger at ALL of them. The entire FEDERAL government is an incredible waste of space. I blame both parties for putting our country where it is at. Right now however, I can put a good portion of blame on the current administration for not helping the countries situation. Susan you wrote a very good article and it looks like you did your homework as well.

  • Like Reagan it’s hard to remember what Margaret Thatcher was actually for. All she ever was was ‘against.’ Most female conservatives are like this. That’s why they leave such a negligible footprint aside from sourness once they pass on.