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MEMBER DIARY

Obama Grants Government Competitive Edge; Ignores Private Sector Complaints

Promoted from the diaries by Bill

Today, the President released a memorandum to all Federal agencies ordering the streamlining and expedition of regulatory and permitting processes for infrastructure projects, citing the need to remedy current economic conditions, maintain the nation’s competitive edge, and improve competition for global investment.

It paints a rather rosy picture of government coming the rescue in rather pressing economic conditions, but it certainly begs the question of why the President would streamline the regulatory and permitting process for infrastructure projects only when the Chamber of Commerce summit on jobs and the economy last month headlined bureaucratic red tape as one of the major inhibiting factors to recovery of the private sector, saying very little about lack of infrastructure as an issue. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t infrastructure issues, or that there won’t be. The Chamber of Commerce, however,  appears to have a dramatically different opinion regarding ”our competitive edge,” noting that there are plenty of private projects, currently hamstrung by red tape, that can provide “shovel-ready” jobs.

This memorandum illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of basic market economics at best and misplaced priorities at worst. There is no way for our private sector, the economic engine of the country, to compete for investments or with foreign firms while being stuck in the regulatory headlock.  Even if we were to accept the President’s plan to create government-sponsored jobs instead of private sector jobs, there would still be that bureaucratic nightmare at the end. His infrastructure plan, therefore, will not meet the stated goal.  If the president is indeed concerned about the health of our economy and economic well being of our citizenry, he should include streamlining and expediting of all regulatory processes for everyone, not just the Federal government.

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