It is has been noted in recent years that a good percentage of Americans do not pay income taxes. However, we must remember that all Americans incur the cost of the hidden tax of regulations. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), burdensome regulations drain $1.86 trillion from the private economy every year. The tab is $15,000 per family, more than many families pay in federal income taxes.
The cost of the regulatory state is paid for in the form of higher costs for food, energy, transportation, and healthcare. It is also actualized in the form of lower wages and less job opportunities.
As CEI notes, just last year the administration finalized another 3,659 regulations. It’s no surprise that five years into the most tepid economic recovery in recent years, the economy is actually contracting again.
Naturally, the Obama administration is planning to rub salt on the wounds of the American economy by implementing Cap and Trade style regulations that will shutter American manufacturing. The EPA has released a 645-page plan forcing all power plants to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Much like Obama’s administrative Dream Act, this devastating version of Cap and Trade never passed Congress.
So after creating a permanent part-time economy and driving up the cost of healthcare with Obamacare, this administration seeks to crush the average family with higher energy costs, which in turn, jack up the cost of most other vital goods and services.
In recent months, a slew of Republicans have introduced policy proposals attempting to appeal to middle class families. There is no better way to advocate reducing government than by promising to reduce the regulatory state. Along with repeal of Obamacare and opposing open borders (which hurts workers and taxpayers), the crushing burden of energy regulations must play prominent in any general election campaign.
On the surface, this is an issue for which all Republicans can unite and fight with a coherent message. After all, the Chamber of Commerce is actually on the right side of the issue. But there are two important observations that cannot be overlooked.
It’s easy for the Chamber and establishment Republicans to act outraged over the regulatory state when the EPA announces crushing regulations. But what these people fail to see is that they are responsible for growing government and interjecting it into every aspect of the economy – to the point that they now feel that can control entire industries, such as energy, healthcare, and financial services. People like Thad Cochran can’t have it both ways. They can’t embrace the federal hand that subsidizes private enterprise and then complain about the hand that regulates them into submission. It is years’ worth of bipartisan work from the Chamber and pay-for-play Republicans to expand the role of government that has allowed the bureaucracies to grow large and brazen enough to regulate anything that moves.
The other point to consider is that although all establishment Republicans claim to be outraged over the latest Cap and Trade scheme, what are they going to do about it? Remember, even if Republicans win control of the Senate, it will not change the balance of power. They will not have control over the executive agencies, and Obama will be as truculent as ever in ruling by administrative fiat during the lame duck of his presidency. Republicans already have control of the purse-string in the House – the last recourse to check against abuse of executive power – yet they sabotaged our only attempt to use it.
At some point, Republicans need to look beyond the next election to solving the constitutional crisis that is upon us.
Cross-posted at The Madison Project