Bush Had Generated More Regulations At This Point In His Presidency Than Obama

Republican lawmakers have been raking President Obama over the coals due to what they call a “tsunami” of new government regulations. “Business owners are reluctant to create jobs today if they’re going to need to pay more tomorrow to comply with onerous new regulations,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Obama’s “excessive regulations that unnecessarily increase costs” just “make it harder for our economy to create jobs,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

As with most GOP talking points, the facts tell a different story. A Bloomberg analysis of regulations reveals that Obama has approved fewer regulations than President George W. Bush “at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father.” Indeed, the record for the most expensive regulations still belongs to the GOP:

Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg. […]

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 non-partisan Government Accountability Office reports analyzed by Bloomberg…The record [cost of regulations] came in 1992 under George H.W. Bush when that total hit $20.9 billion in current dollars. In the last year of Ronald Reagan’s term it was $16 billion in today’s dollars.

We certainly don’t remember Republicans crying about the “excessive” Bush regulations.

More of Obama’s regulations may cost more than $100 million as compared to previous administrations. But many of them help prevent outcomes that would cost exponentially more. For instance, the Department of Interior’s new controls on deep-water oil drilling may cost the industry $180 million, but one oil spill like that caused by Deepwater Horizon could cost the industry $16.3 billion. Some of the administration’s rules, like those governing coal ash, will actually help create thousands of jobs.


The impact of these regulations on small businesses is incredibly minimal. In fact, of the 10,361 mass layoffs last year, only 61 were attributed to regulations. When McClatchy asked small business owners why they have been hesitant to hire, “none of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it.”