President Obama ‘reaches out’ to the business community with a Wall Street Journal op-ed “Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System.” He describes a new Executive Order that initiates “a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.”
Couldn’t hurt — but it’s very unlikely to find much after 8 years of the uber-antiregulation Cheney-Bush administration. And Obama’s generally strong defense of regulations — particularly the EPA — is not what the anti-science, pro-pollution readership of the WSJ opinion page wants to hear. Here are some excerpts:
For two centuries, America’s free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known. That vibrant entrepreneurialism is the key to our continued global leadership and the success of our people.
But throughout our history, one of the reasons the free market has worked is that we have sought the proper balance. We have preserved freedom of commerce while applying those rules and regulations necessary to protect the public against threats to our health and safety and to safeguard people and businesses from abuse.
From child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to our most recent strictures against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, we have, from time to time, embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy….
One important example of this overall approach is the fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. When I took office, the country faced years of litigation and confusion because of conflicting rules set by Congress, federal regulators and states.
The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of rules into one aggressive new standard. It was a victory for car companies that wanted regulatory certainty; for consumers who will pay less at the pump; for our security, as we save 1.8 billion barrels of oil; and for the environment as we reduce pollution. Another example: Tomorrow the FDA will lay out a new effort to improve the process for approving medical devices, to keep patients safer while getting innovative and life-saving products to market faster.
Despite a lot of heated rhetoric, our efforts over the past two years to modernize our regulations have led to smarter””and in some cases tougher””rules to protect our health, safety and environment. Yet according to current estimates of their economic impact, the benefits of these regulations exceed their costs by billions of dollars.
- By “2020 the benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments will exceed the costs of compliance by a factor of 30 to 1“
- For EPA regulations, benefits consistently exceed costs