When you turn on the evening news you probably don’t hear much about President Obama’s regulatory agenda, or how his tsunami of regulations is sending capital overseas. But it’s happening right under our noses. It’s taking billions of dollars out of our economy, and the result is a recovery that resembles a depression for millions of Americans. Then the politicians blather about economic equality when it’s their policies that are killing opportunities for those who need them most. Those with the money can invest here and make a profit, or they can invest somewhere else with less hassle and make more money. What would you do?
On our way to a Labor Day cookout Mr. LC and I noticed how many commercial buildings sat empty as we drove through a nearby small town. There was an empty Friendly’s restaurant that recently closed, an old auto dealership building that’s been vacant for years, and a massive building that looks like some sort of warehouse sporting a “For Lease” sign. Later someone brought up how few manufacturing jobs are left in the northeast. It’s not surprising considering how most northeast states have been run by liberals for years or decades. The Obama agenda seems to be turning the whole country into a great, big, economically depressed blue state.
Every administration has imposed regulations on the economy, it’s like each president was trying to one-up his predecessor. But Obama has taken that one-upmanship to a new level, as The Washington Examiner pointed out in a recent editorial.
President Obama’s unprecedented regulatory agenda is driving both foreign and domestic capital out of the United States. For now, the U.S. fortunately is still the top destination for investment in the world. Foreigners have invested more than $3.5 trillion in the U.S. economy, more than triple the share of the next-closest economy. But that edge is slipping. In 2011, foreigners invested $227 billion in the United States. That dropped to just $147 billion in 2012, a drop of more than 35 percent. And the decline occurred during what was supposedly an economic recovery.
There are many reasons why investors are choosing to put their money in places other than the United States. Developing countries are growing faster, 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the U.S., and other countries are embracing free markets for the first time. But, as Cato scholar Daniel Ikenson notes in a new paper, some of that decline in investment is also due to the deteriorating business climate in the U.S. As recently as 2000, the U.S. ranked second in the annual Economic Freedom of the World Report. It fell to eighth by 2005, and all the way to 18th after just four years under Obama. The main driver of the fall is heightened regulation. ….
According to the Heritage Foundation, Obama has inflicted nearly $70 billion worth of regulatory burdens on the U.S. economy since he was sworn into office, including $23.5 billion in new regulatory costs in 2012 alone. That number will only increase as Dodd-Frank and Obamacare come online. Obama’s “war on coal” is also inflicting hundreds of billions in new regulatory costs.
Read the whole thing. It’s only going to get worse. Great. Now even more young adults will have to move back in with their parents.
The Wall Street Journal has a related piece about the Renewable Fuel Standards debacle. The article was written by a GOP rep and someone from the AFL-CIO. They start out by saying it was a great, bipartisan idea to make us use gasoline laced with corn, er, I mean ethanol. (Tell that to anyone who can’t get their lawn mowers or generators to start.) Now they’re all upset that under Obama the cost of complying with the EPA standard has shot up over 3,000% and that Wall Street is selling the bogus RINs so now there’s a shortage of them for refiners. They didn’t bother to mention that upping the ethanol percentage will make food prices go up even more, and damage our vehicles. Nor do they seem to get how it was bipartisan consensus that made Obama’s policies possible. They built the beast and Obama put it on steroids, and now they wonder what went wrong. Good grief, when will they learn?