Regulations to headline D.C. debate

Published: Friday, Sept. 2 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Source Industrial, Commercial & Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters. Cost estimate: $3 billion.

Standards for the Management of Coal Combustion Residuals Generated by Commercial Electric Power Producers. Cost estimate: $.06 billion-$1.5 billion.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, Rearview Mirrors. Cost estimate: $2 billion.

Electronic On-Board Records and Hours of Service Supporting Documents. Cost estimate: $2 billion.

Hours of Service. Cost estimate: $1 billion.

The regulations also included a plan to tighten smog regulations, which had an estimated cost of $29 billion-$90 billion. However, Obama directed the EPA to withdraw the proposed regulation on Friday.

However, the American Action Forum said the presidents letter omitted other regulations that would have a cost of around $24.7 billion, and it does not include estimations of regulations in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the health care bill.

These two bills alone and the regulations they include are already having an impact on how business is done in the United States.

The Congressional Research Service said in a 2010 report that the health care bill — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — was written so regulatory agencies could "fill in the details," and estimates health care regulations associated with the bill will be issued for years, or even decades, to come.

The Dodd-Frank Act, which was touted as a way to fix problems with banking regulations, is being blamed for making it difficult for businesses to get access to capital, The Hill reports.

Although all businesses feel the weight of regulations, small businesses in particular carry a disproportionate share of the federal regulatory burden, a 2010 Small Business Administration report said. According to the report, the annual cost of federal regulations is $7,755 per employee for firms with 500 or more people, but $10,585 per employee for firms with fewer than 20 people. The total cost of federal regulations has also increased to $1.75 trillion.

With the unemployment rate sitting stationary at 9.1 percent and employers adding no net jobs in August, business leaders and organizations warn regulations will continue to have a chilling effect on the economy.

Sara Lee CEO Christopher J. Fraleigh criticized new administration rules regarding advertising and children that would keep his company from advertising even a turkey sandwich during the Super Bowl. According to Fraleigh, government guidelines would mean companies couldnt advertise hot dogs in stadiums because children might be present, and chocolate Easter bunnies would be disallowed because the character appeals to children.

Phil Kerpen, vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, writes at The Hill that the Federal Communications Commission plans to move forward with new rules regarding phone and cable companies that would slash private investment by about 10 percent and destroy as many as 200,000 jobs a year.

The Heritage Foundation highlights an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit brought against Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. for firing a truck driver with an admitted alcohol abuse problem. If the EEOC wins, Heritage contends, Old Dominion will still be liable both for any damage to life or property that results from a potential relapse by one of its recovering drivers, and for the cost of trying to ensure that such damage never occurs.

Openmarkets.org, the staff blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, highlights other job-destroying regulations, including lawsuits filed against employers who consider applicants arrest records and criminal convictions in hiring, colleges that want to use electronic book readers and restaurants with counters that are too high for people in wheelchairs to see the food being prepared.

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