Stacy French - May 04th, 2016
Do we live in a democracy, or a regulatory dictatorship? It’s hard to tell sometimes, especially after reading the latest annual report on the regulatory state issued by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
CEI’s latest “10,000 Commandments” adds up the total cost of federal rules and regulations, and should be required reading for anyone espousing still more government control over the economy. What it shows is that the country is increasingly being ruled not by elected representatives, but by unelected and largely unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington.
Just look at the balance between regulations and laws. For every bill passed through Congress and signed by the president last year, regulators imposed 30 new regulations.
And at $1.885 trillion, the cost of regulations now exceeds the cost of federal individual and corporate income taxes, which raised about $1.82 trillion last year.
The CEI report shows that economic regulations (such as market entry restrictions, price supports and the like) impose the biggest costs at $399 billion. That’s followed by environmental regulations at $386 billion, and — incredibly — the cost of complying with the tax code, which is expected to be $316 billion this year.
The problem is that these costs never show up in any federal budget as a cost of government. They just get hidden in higher prices, lower take home pay, more unemployment, less opportunity.
As a result, as author Clyde Wayne Crews explains: “Regulatory initiatives can enable federal commandeering of private sector resources with comparatively little public fuss, rendering regulation a form of off-budget taxation. Policymakers find it easier to impose regulatory costs than to embark on more government spending because of the former’s lack of disclosure and accountability for costs. Furthermore, where regulatory compliance costs prove burdensome, Congress can escape accountability by blaming an agency for issuing an unpopular rule.”
The impact on growth, however, can be profound. A separate report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University found that the nation’s GDP would be 25% bigger today if no new federal rules had been issued since 1980.
President Obama recently claimed that it’s a “myth” that deregulation would spark economic growth. In fact, it’s an easily checkable truth.
Presidents Reagan and Clinton both deregulated big chunks of the economy and the growth flourished. Obama has imposed more expensive, and more intrusive, regulations — ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank are just two — than just about any president before him, and has produced the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.
And while the last recession has been commonly blamed on deregulation under President Bush, he was hardly a deregulator. In fact, Bush imposed regulations at an average rate of 62 major rules a year, compared with 81 a year under Obama.
A return to freedom, growth and opportunity will require Washington to rein in the runaway regulatory state.
You can read the CEI report here.
See more: http://www.investors.com/politics/capital-hill/federal-regulations-now-cost-almost-1-9-trillion-study-finds/
Doug Sachtleben - April 28th, 2016
Washington, DC – Today, the Club for Growth released its 2015 Congressional Scorecard, which ranks the voting behavior of Members of Congress based on issues relating to limited government and economic growth.
To view the Club for Growth’s 2015 Congressional Scorecard and all prior scorecards, click here.
“Despite slight progress in 2015, Congress has a lot of room for improvement on pro-growth policies,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “The number of Members receiving the Club’s Defender of Economic Freedom award is up, but still represents only a small percentage of the Republican majorities in Congress. Economic freedom should be a leading theme in the policies coming out of Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, too many Republicans are still committed to big government and big spending, which makes it all the more important that we recognize those lawmakers who are fighting daily to shrink government and the federal bureaucracy that is choking our free markets and the economy.”
This year, 37 Members of Congress will receive the Club for Growth’s Defender of Economic Freedom award. Starting in 2011, the Club for Growth required Representatives and Senators to not only score 90 or better on votes cast in a year, but to also maintain a lifetime rating of at least 90.
The Club for Growth 2015 Congressional Scorecard is based on 29 votes taken in the House of Representatives and 25 votes taken in the Senate.
Highlights from the Club for Growth’s 2015 Congressional Scorecard
Only one United States Senator received a perfect score in 2015: Senator Mike Lee (UT).
Senators Ben Sasse (NE), Marco Rubio (FL), Ted Cruz (TX), Jeff Flake (AZ), Tom Cotton (AR), and Jim Risch (ID) had 2015 scores and lifetime scores high enough to qualify for the Defender of Economic Freedom award.
Thirty House members (up from 25 last year) who received scores of 90 or better in 2015 also had lifetime scores of 90 or better to qualify for the Defender of Economic Freedom award.
Three House members received 100% ratings in 2015. Of those, two had a lifetime rating of 100: Congressmen John Ratcliffe (TX-04) and Tim Huelskamp (KS-01). Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) also had a 100% rating in 2015.
Six Senate Democrats scored zero in 2015, and the highest score of any Senate Democrat, by Senator Joe Manchin (WV), was a mere 23.
The lowest scoring Republican was Senator Susan Collins (MN) with a 25.
Republican leadership scores in 2015 were:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) – 62
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn – 63
House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-01) – 73
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) – 68
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01) – 65
House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) – 58
The Club for Growth is the nation’s leading group promoting economic freedom through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, and education.
The Club’s website can be found at http://www.clubforgrowth.org/