econscius

Bush Did Not “Deregulate”

In Obama Administration, President Obama, Regulation on December 21, 2011 at 12:56 am

I have heard many times “Bush deregulation” caused this or that.  It seems clear a part of the Obama reelection strategy will be to say that voting him from office means every rule will be ripped from the law books and your neighborhood restaurant will be serving bottles of arsenic in place of clean water, just like the supposed halcyon days of laissez-faire, the so-called “Bush years”.  Like many untruths, the “Bush deregulation” is repeated such it appears many accept it as true.

What “Deregulation”? 

If only it were so!

The facts speak for themselves.  The Bush Administration signed into law a very sweeping financial regulatory law, Sarbanes-Oxley.  Did it work?  You be the judge.

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial [1] points to the evidence about the Obama Administration’s rules that impose more than $100 million annual costs each, which shows the Administration is regulating more than prior Administrations.   No surprise there.

The interesting thing about the Journal’s piece is the accompanying graph which shows how the Bush Administration regulated more than Clinton.  The average $100 million+ rule count was 62 under Bush, 56 under Clinton and 84 so far under Obama. 

More evidence comes from this Heritage Foundation report (emphasis added):  

“The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the regulatory equiv­alent of a statute book that includes only the text of existing regulations. In number of pages, the CFR makes the Federal Register look Lilliputian, with the 2007 edition totaling 145,816 pages, more than 4,500 pages longer than in 2001, when Bush took office, and almost 8,000 pages longer than in 2000.” [2]

What were the big regulations that were removed by the Bush Administration?  I am all ears. 

Why the regulatory explosion of recent years matters, from the Journal:

The evidence is overwhelming that the Obama regulatory surge is one reason the current economic recovery has been so lackluster by historical standards. Rather than nurture an economy trying to rebuild confidence after a financial heart attack, the Administration pushed through its now-famous blitz of liberal policies on health care, financial services, energy, housing, education and student loans, telecom, labor relations, transportation and probably some other industries we’ve forgotten. Anyone who thinks this has only minimal impact on business has never been in business.

Comments welcome below.

 

[1] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204770404577082920364818792.html?KEYWORDS=regulation+dummies

[2]  http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/03/red-tape-rising-regulatory-trends-in-the-bush-years

 Picture from Wikipedia Commons.

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  1. These are figures the eventual Republican nominee should arm himself with.

  2. This is mostly a result of Sarbanes Oxley, which is a law passed after the tech bubble burst in 2000.

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