Recently, the GOP has used regulations as their talking points. When I first read a quote from Paul Ryan that referenced $700 billion in new regulations since Obama took office, I assumed this was hyperbole, companies giving inflated figures for routine operations that they blamed on regulations. I don’t even know what that meant, in my mind, but I didn’t really pay it much credence.
However, when Donald Trump took the up the mantle of fighting regulations today, he said something that set off alarm bells:
“We have to address the issues of over-taxation and over-regulation and the lack of access to credit markets to get our small business owners thriving again. Rolling back the overtime regulation is just one example of the many regulations that need to be addressed.”
“Holy shit,” I thought, “Overtime pay is one of the regulations they’re talking about?” And if worker overtime pay is one of the onerous regulations the GOP is citing, what are the others? So, I went looking and quickly found the interactive website prepared by the American Action Forum to showcase their findings.
So what are some of these other, burdensome, regulations that Speaker Paul Ryan is so unimpressed by?
Right at the top, with a total estimated cost of $156 billion are the new rules to regulate “2017 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions“. Mind you, the cost is misleading in a sense – that’s the total cost. The annual cost is much lower, just $10.8 billion. Maybe this is a meaningless regulation to climate change deniers, but the rest of us think it makes a lot of sense.
Well, there is the “Disqualification of Felons and Other “Bad Actors” From Rule 506 Offerings“ rule. Well, the process for businesses to raise capital has in fact been significantly eased since Obama took office. But fearing that this loosening could be abused (for instance, ever seen “Boiler Room”), there is a new regulation that essentially requires people who have been convicted of securities fraud to disclose that fact to potential investors. The imposition of this regulation is estimated to cost $264,000 per year. Horrible, right?
Then there are the all-new “National Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape”, whose stated purpose is, well, exactly as it sounds. These onerous regulation is expected to cost $468 million annually.
There are also rules setting the energy use of newly manufactured dehumidifiers, clothes washers, commercial refrigeration equipment and walk-in coolers. There is a new requirement for stronger warning labels on cigarettes. This is estimated to cost $52 million annually. Who knows why though, presumably it will add a fraction of penny per cigarette pack in extra printing ink charges.
Another onerous regulation requires companies involved in the shipment of food to use sanitary practices to ensure the safety of said food. Insane, right? I mean, company executives would never skirt rules to shave a little off their costs, right?
The point is, when you hear politicians decrying the “onerous” regulations that businesses face, these are the things they’re talking about. Regulations to help ensure that the food we eat is safe. Regulations to make sure that future cars and appliances are more energy efficient. Regulations to try to lessen the prevalence of prison rape. And regulations that require companies to pay their employees more for working overtime.
It’s funny, when Republicans step up to the podium to decry harmful government regulations, they’re always very careful to not specify which regulations they’re actually talking about. I had given them a free pass on it too, even, only thinking to look it up when “straight talking” Donald spilled the beans.