President Barack Obama is accustomed to having his way — like trying to dictate exactly when Congress would assemble for him to address a special joint session.
But that’s small stuff. The big stuff is the dictatorial flood of regulations that Obama is imposing. He can’t get his big government agenda through Congress anymore, so now he does it through the executive branch.
The worst of these regulations should be called “Obama’s Maleficent Seven.”
A regulation is a law made by the executive branch, permitted only because Congress over decades passed a multitude of vague laws that empowered bureaucrats.
Obama is taking advantage of this to govern by dictate. As his spokesman says, “There are things he can do without Congress, and he will do them.” Overturning Obama’s regulations requires both houses of Congress to unite by veto-proof margins to wipe out the red tape.
Because the Senate protects the Obama White House by bottling up House efforts to block the regulations, the White House-run bureaucracies are going wild. The only other alternative is court challenges that take years to produce results, if any.
By the administration’s own count, 219 major regulations are impending—meaning 219 efforts that EACH are estimated to cost the economy more than $100 million a year.
But President Obama — responding to a letter from House Speaker John Boehner — has personally identified what might be called the “Big Seven” because each of them would impose annual burdens over $1 billion. And collectively these seven surpass $100 billion a year. So let’s call them the “Maleficent Seven.”
Obama defended the Seven in his letter to Boehner, claiming that his administration just finished an exhaustive review of unnecessary regulations and weeded out old ones that were costing us $2 billion a year (which Obama tried to magnify by saying it was “$10-billion over five years”).
But his team has already issued 75 major new regulations last year and this year, which are an annual $40 billion drag on the economy. So he’s already made things 20 times worse than his “improvements” — and that’s even before the Maleficent Seven kick in.
What are the seven? Here’s the official chart appended by the White House to Obama’s letter:
||Reconsideration of the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards
|| $19-90 Billion
||National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units
|| $10 Billion
|| National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Source Industrial, Commercial & Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters
|| $3 Billion
|| Standards for the Management of Coal Combustion Residuals Generated by Commercial Electric Power Producers
||Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, Rearview Mirrors
||Electronic On-Board Recorders and Hours of Service Supporting Documents
|| $2 Billion
|| Hours of Service
Thousands of pages of other pending job-killing regulations aren’t even on this list, including those from Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation.
The picture is clear. Businesses in America can’t afford to expand AND pay for the new regulations about to hit them. Hurricane Irene — and even Katrina — didn’t pack nearly the wallop that Hurricane Obama is bringing ashore. Companies already are evacuating the area of job creation.
Sadly, Congress failed to prepare for disasters of this magnitude, through decades of heedless delegation of authority to unelected bureaucrats. The House is considering helpful legislation, such as the REINS Act (by Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky.) to rein in bureaucracy. But Congress could do more.
Until Congress fixes the entire regulatory system that enables a dictatorial executive branch, we’re at the mercy of more disasters in the form of job-killing regulations, especially from a president who doesn’t want to be bothered with Congressional opposition. Meanwhile, Obama’s Maleficent Seven will continue to ride roughshod over our struggling economy.
Former Congressman Istook is now a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
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