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AFF Sentinel-Vol 20#11-Nirvana for Bureaucrats, Hindrance to Everyone Else

Bureaucrats Busily Too Often Hobbling Business Not Protecting Citizens

Steve Dittmer | AFF Sentinel

Colorado Springs, CO

Originally sent to subscribers 03/18/23

Edi. Note: We promised last time to get you the link for commenting on the USDA Proposed Rule on labeling. Here it is:

Taxes get lots of attention, as well they should. And the Democrats and President Biden have given lots of cause to worry and fret about what they’ve done and what they want to do. We’ll discuss the Biden budget soon.

There is another insidious tax, in the form of inflation. It hits everyone across economic strata, not just those who make lots of money. It’s insidious because people don’t realize they’ve had a hand in it -- by whom they voted for. And it really does hit the poor and the middle class hardest, as there is no income level exempt.

When we first wanted to write about this next issue, we had no idea that before we did, a whole new series of events would throw a spotlight on the subject. That subject is another way government sucks life out of the economy, one that usually doesn’t get that much attention, except for those who have to comply.

That economic drain is government regulation. The “last administration,” as Biden keeps referring to the Trump years, tried to cut the number of regulations as a key element of revving the economic engine, along with tax cuts. Biden and his team have gone the opposite direction.

We’ve written about Wayne Crews before, he of the “Ten Thousand Commandments” project that monitors the flood of regulations that issue from unelected agencies. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial a couple weeks ago that chronicled Biden’s flood and noted some of the points Crews makes about regulations.

But then the demise of the “Singing Bankers” at Signature Bank and the woke Silicon Valley Bank brought on cries for more regulation. We’re not banking experts but there are likely enough banking regulations, there were just political reasons for not enforcing and poor supervision by those who were supposed to be monitoring those banks. Silicon Valley bank had specifically lobbied to be exempted from restrictions on stress tests and capital requirements.

But just as Biden’s policies stifling fossil fuel energy development also stop green energy projects, his and his party’s spending policies created inflation that hurt banks, as well as all of us. These banks and likely some others did not plan for the eventuality of federal funds rates higher than almost nothing against bond rates from last decade.

Then there is Biden’s latest executive order, continuing his quest to end all violence by making sure only crooks have guns, to shrink law enforcement ranks and make everyone who sells a gun privately a federal firearms dealer subject to more background checks rules.

From the leftist viewpoint, the answer to all problems is more government money and more government regulation.

So how’s the Biden administration doing? One must remember that he studied under the “I have a phone and I have a pen” president, one Barack Obama. What can’t be rammed or squeezed through Congress or snuck through the courts can be issued in executive orders that will stand until the next president or lawsuit reverses it. Those executive orders are marching orders for every federal agency.

The American Action Forum said in two years, the Biden administration has issued 517 regulatory actions costing $318 billion. Obama had issued 740 rules in two years, costing $208 billion. In four years, President Trump’s team had issued 1,340 rules costing $65 billion. Some of Trump’s rules were designed to overturn Obama rules.

In 2022 alone, federal agencies finalized 264 regulations, with a total impact of over $117 billion. Another 311 are in the proposed pipeline, costing $191 billion. Of those, 23 are estimated to cost a billion each.

Keep in mind, the last time anything really cost what the government estimated it would cost was…was…was there any time?

Crews, at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, calculates all these rules cost $2 trillion, or roughly 8 percent of U.S. GDP in 2021. If you regard regulations as a tax, it amounts to more than the federal income tax, about $14,684/family. If you think of the regulations‘ cost as a country, France’s GDP is only a little bigger.

Thought of another way, with Trump’s mission to cut regulation along with taxes, no wonder the economy took off with the removal of such a load on the economy and detriments to doing business.

Wall Street pointed out that agencies are rushing to write regulations from all the recent Democrat Congressional legislation. And, they are busy rewriting old rules to expand them to advance policies they haven’t been able -- and are less likely to be able now -- to get through Congress.

Crews said in 2021, Congress passed 143 laws, which federal agencies managed to morph into 3,257 rules. In 2022, the busy bureaucrats managed 3,168 more rules from Congress’ 247 laws. That’s a ratio of 13 rules from mostly faceless, unelected bureaucrats for every law our elected representatives pass.

Naturally, the Trump rule of eliminating two rules for every new one issued Biden made sure to get rid of.

As for us, USDA is another unelected bureaucracy treading dangerously in deep water. Labeling beef involves packages of beef in the meat counter, where consumers make their final purchase decisions. Threatening mandates in a cattle marketing system hammered out by cattlemen, packers and retailers over many years is even deeper waters, worth billions to the beef production chain and its consumers.

The USDA proposed rule posits a “cost” not even close to the real potential cost of interfering in the beef-consumer nexus.

Then there is such a broad issue even National Review is writing about it. We first wrote about the Sacketts, a couple trying to build a house in Idaho, over a decade ago. Moving some gravel around to build a house has finally arrived at the Supreme Court -- again.

Yes, the EPA has been working assiduously to sidestep the Court’s ruling the first time. The Sackett’s case has been argued and is due for a ruling during this year’s session. It will further define -- and likely restrict -- EPA’s powers under the Clean Water Act. But EPA is ignoring the Supreme Court case as long as it can, working to defend its expanded view of “navigable waters” though another re-definition of its Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulations.

We will further delve into federal regulations but banking discussions will come first.

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