Mark Warner: anti-regulation, except in large doses
In today's Post, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) decries the red tape that has been spooling out from the federal government, which, he argues, impairs growth and job creation:
Our economic recovery remains frustratingly sluggish, unemployment is still unacceptably high, and all of us should be concerned that leading U.S. corporations have remained on the economic sidelines over much of the past year instead of making new investments or hiring additional workers.
One reason often cited for this unwillingness to invest is executives' belief that Washington regulators are stifling fresh investment and discouraging innovation through new rules and requirements.
If Washington expects to partner with the private sector to lead the effort toward economic recovery, we must address the regulatory uncertainty felt by many of our small and large businesses.
Warner suggests that we should "require federal agencies to identify and eliminate one existing regulation for each new regulation they want to add." Wow, could that be retroactive?
I mean, Warner voted for the mammoth financial reform bill and for ObamaCare. Together those laws have thousands of new requirements, regulations and mandates on business. If Warner were really concerned that "Washington regulators are stifling fresh investment and discouraging innovation through new rules and requirements," why would he have voted for such regulation?
A report in the Wall Street Journal makes it clear how burdensome is the new health-care law:
Big employers faced with incorporating the first round of health-care changes next month are grappling with how to comply with the long list of new rules.
Many companies are hiring consultants to help sort though the mountain of new mandates, which include extending dependent coverage to children up to age 26, and may eventually result in covering more employees. Some are also considering changes to their plans--including pushing costs to workers.
There is also some concern about how to digest the sheer volume of paperwork.
"There's administrative burden just to try and understand the 2,400 pages of the document," says Jenn Mann, vice president of human resources at software maker SAS Institute Inc.
I think in-depth hearings on the topic of regulatory burdens on business are in order. Let's start with a listing of all of the new regulations imposed in, say, the last two years. Let's quantify all the costs imposed on businesses and, in turn, passed on to consumers (in the form of higher prices) and to workers (in the form of lower wages). Let's zero in on the two bills I mentioned above, since they are, far and away, the most intrusive and far-reaching regulatory measures passed in the last few years (maybe in decades). And then Warner and his colleagues can explain just how such legislation contributes to the "uncertainty that has kept the U.S. business community from participating more fully in our nation's economic recovery."
| December 13, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories: Senate Democrats
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