Virtually unfettered, Barack Obama is imposing new federal regulations and executive orders at such a frenzied pace, there is seemingly no one who can account for them all. This way of slipping so much past the people (uh, I meant to say governing, it just came out this way) is perfectly in keeping with the lead from behind strategy that is being used increasingly by the Obama administration. The reason for this is clear, Obama can continue to advance his radical liberal agenda, while staying under radar. By using federal regulations and executive orders, Obama only faces about 10% of the scrutiny he would bear by governing with conventional legislation.
There is a great deal of downside to accepting this system. First, using federal regulations and executive orders so prolifically usurps the very checks and balances our founding fathers intended when creating three separate branches of government. If Obama doesn’t tell anyone about federal regulations and executive orders, there is no scrutiny, no checks and no balances. The obvious problem is that much of what he is doing is unconstitutional and all of what he’s doing is too costly.
Perhaps even more upsetting than the continued advocacy of ineffective liberal policies that are strangling the US economy and stifling job creation, is the complete paradigm shift into an altered reality of progressivism devised by liberals who are undeterred by constitutional limitations or congressional checks and balances. We examine the bureaucratic hocus pocus and find that Obama is continually lying about hundreds of billions of dollars in costs, skirting Congressional oversight and usurping the Constitution. Liberal media bias is keeping the mainstream media from reporting on Obama’s prolific use of federal regulations and executive orders entirely. In fact, I can’t remember a single instance of the mainstream media even mentioning the story. You can only get it here, on Intelligent US Politics, where we are not hindered by mainstream media bias.
With the mainstream media completely ignoring the subject of federal regulations and executive orders, and Obama lying to us about it every day, we are most assuredly in the dark. There used to be a fail safe whereby we would at least find out about the cost of Obama’s federal regulations and executive orders, provided they cost more than $100 million. Federal agencies are required by law to score any federal regulations and executive orders that hit that level of cost. Shocking as it may be, there are thousands of federal regulations and executive orders that do.
To keep this pesky legal requirement from becoming a problem that brings scrutiny upon the Dear Leader, the Obama Administration did what they do, they changed rules while no one was watching, and dared anyone to challenge them. In this case, they changed the way federal agencies score the cost/benefit analysis of regulations.
In other words, they changed the formula that has remained constant for as long as anyone can remember. The new Obama way to score the cost of federal regulations solves everything. With this new math, instead of just projecting the costs, federal agencies will now attribute financial benefits to nebulous, non-quantifiable nuances of federal regulations and executive orders.
For example, new EPA Regulation #101, under the old scoring system, would have cost tens of billions a year; but now it won’t. Because some clever liberal believes the new EPA regulation will make the air cleaner, they will attribute billions of dollars of benefit to the analysis because so much will be saved by the public healthcare system, what with the air being cleaner. The magnitude of these arbitrary and ridiculous cost savings offset the cost of the federal regulation so that Obama can continue to lie about costs as he shovels money out the door.
Consider one such regulation, the Utility Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS), which applies to coal-fired power plants. Finalized by the EPA in 2011, the regulation is estimated to cost the economy about $10 billion per year. But the EPA claims the annual benefits from the rule will be between $37 billion to $90 billion. In other words, its benefits will be four to nine times higher than its costs.
The EPA isn’t even willing to claim that such benefits are theoretical. The Obama Administration claims that they are monetized, meaning they will show up in higher gross domestic product. And since GDP is about $16 trillion, this one rule should add as much as half a percent of growth to the economy. This is fantastic, isn’t it? Instead of $10 billion per year in real costs, we instead get $37 to $90 billion per year in Monopoly money benefit. This must have been Obama’s strategy all along: he’s spending our way to prosperity.
Regulations do have costs, a fact EPA acknowledges. They admit that implementing the MATS rule will result in the loss of 23,000 megawatts of electricity production and will cause 200,000 job losses by 2015. How fantastic is that? And it’s just one of seven major rules that will cause the loss of between 544,000 and 887,000 jobs while reducing the nation’s electric generation capacity by 1.5 percent.
It therefore stands to reason, that under this liberal accounting method, the Obama Administration could cut all of our jobs and eliminate all of our electrical production, and we’d come out ahead. I hardly think there would be any benefit at all.