Monday, September 26 , 2016, 9:11 pm | Fair 86º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 

Tom Donohue: Regulators Represent the Fourth Branch of Government

A powerful, unelected and often unaccountable fourth branch of government is driving much of the policy that impacts the way we run our businesses and lead our lives.

Federal regulators are churning out about 4,000 regulations a year — including a rising number of massive, costly rules. Systemic overregulation breeds uncertainty, drives up costs, stifles hiring and investment, and threatens our competitive edge in a global economy.

A major indicator of overregulation is the rise in “economically significant” rules — those bearing a price tag of $100 million or more. In 2003, the number of economically significant rules was 127. That number has been steadily increasing since 2007. In 2012, a whopping 224 of these major regulations were in the pipeline.

There is also a troubling lack of transparency and public engagement. Federal law requires every president to release his regulatory plans twice a year so that individuals and businesses have a chance to plan for — or object to — regulations before they take effect.

After skipping both the spring and fall deadlines in 2012, the administration quietly published its regulatory agenda just days before the end of the year. And it confirmed what we already suspected: A second term will bring a slew of costly new regulations, covering everything from power plant emissions to health-care standards.

Once the regulations are out in the open, there isn’t always a chance for the public to offer input. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that about 35 percent of major regulations are issued without a public comment period. In most of those cases, the regulators simply decided that there was “good cause” to issue the rule without public input. In too many other instances, public comment periods have been too short to digest lengthy and complex rules, analyze their impact and offer thoughtful responses.

What’s to be done? We need to reform the entire system to restore transparency and accountability and to ensure that the benefits of rules outweigh the costs. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with the regulators to improve rules when we can and with Congress to reform or repeal bad regulations.

And if it comes to it, we’ll sue. In support of one of its members, the Noel Canning Corporation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce briefed, argued and won a constitutional challenge last week to three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

The Chamber of Commerce will continue to use every tool at its disposal to keep the fourth branch of government at bay — and to protect America’s job creators from the costs and uncertainty of a regulatory regime run amok.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >