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Regulatory tsunami sweeping away jobs

July 19, 2011
Salem News

Good heavens. Will they ever stop? Apparently not. We refer to the propensity of President Barack Obama and many in his administration to blame his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, for all the nation's problems. It happened again last week.

Cass Sunstein has been referred to as Obama's "regulatory czar." His actual title is administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Last week Sunstein, during what was supposed to have been a symposium on innovation on Capitol Hill, took another shot at the Bush administration. "There is no tsunami" of new federal regulations from the Obama administration, Sunstein claimed. He insisted the Obama bureaucracy has produced fewer burdensome rules for industry than came out of the Bush White House.

In terms of sheer numbers, we don't know. Bush was in office eight years, while Obama has been in the White House only about two and one-half, so it IS possible fewer rules have been promulgated during the incumbent's tenure.

But the effect of Obama's very real regulatory tsunami has far exceeded what happened during the Bush years. Business and industry - and the jobs they create -have suffered greatly during the past two years.

One aspect of regulations Sunstein chose not to address is the administration's war against coal.

West Virginians and Ohioans are fully aware the Obama administration has adopted a take-no-prisoners attitude toward the coal industry, the states that benefit from it - and the millions of jobs that depend directly and indirectly on it.

At Obama's orders, the Environmental Protection Agency has launched a three-pronged assault against coal. It has included steps to retroactively revoke surface mine permits and to use new rules on fly ash to make it prohibitively expensive to burn coal in power plants.

Perhaps the most outrageous aspect of it is the "cap and trade" scheme rejected by Congress - but still being pursued by the EPA.

Sunstein simply wasn't being candid in his claims last week. The regulatory tsunami is very real - and it threatens to drown any hope the approximately one in 10 Americans who are unemployed have of ever getting back to work.



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