American Elephants

Twenty Thousand Pages of ObamaCare Regulations, And More to Come. by The Elephant's Child


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent out this photo, which shows what it looks like — if you stack every page of ObamaCare regulations one on top of another. This is over 20,000 pages, and the stack measures 7′ 2.5″ in height. The regulations represent thousands of man-hours required just to fill out the paperwork, before they even start in on the cost of what the regulations require of those to whom they are addressed.

Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, said in February of 2011 that ObamaCare could cost 800,000 jobs. More recently, the Federal Reserve has said that ObamaCare is the reason for thousands of planned layoffs, and a slowdown in hiring as well.

The tax on medical devices is particularly disruptive to medical giants like Stryker who makes all sorts of hospital equipment, even hospital beds.  The new tax  raises their costs significantly, and has cut over 1,170 jobs. The new regulations will raise costs for hospitals, and medical bills for patients, and new equipment or improved designs will be slower to come to market. Uncertainty about the full effect of the rules and what may be coming next, makes business unable to plan.  The cost of all sorts of equipment from that used by hospitals to your own crutches or wheelchair is going up. The cost of veterinary care for your pets will go up, as their costs for medical equipment are affected as well.

I have remarked frequently that President Obama does not like disagreement, nor does he like being restrained by Congress or the courts. His instinct is to ignore the rules and do what he wants — by executive order. Regulation slowed to a crawl before the November election, as anything that might have reflected badly on the president was put on hold until “after the election, ” beginning last July.

Many of the most onerous rules have come from the EPA, which is pursuing the climate change agenda with great enthusiasm in spite of changes in understanding of the science of climate change. Proponents, of course, claim that any cost of new regulations are outweighed by public health and the safety benefits they create. This, however is sheer hooey, as the EPA simply makes up numbers of lives saved, deaths caused, environmental damage allayed, wildlife saved. They are sure that no one will ask for confirmation or challenge their made-up numbers. Tom Sowell has suggested 3 questions: Compared to what? At what price? and What is the evidence?

This is an administration that sees regulation as an intrinsic good, and values an increasingly large and intrusive government. It’s about power and control. The regulated will have a choice — obey or take it to the courts, and not many are able to bear the time and resources to fight the government through a long legal battle. Many low-information voters are completely unaware of the burdens that regulation will place on their lives. When I cite “low-information voters” I refer to busy people who do not follow the news much, and are disinterested in politics.They are the people who could not figure out in January why their paychecks were suddenly smaller.

Cass Sunstein has departed from the helm of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) — a position described as a gatekeeper for federal rules. He was considered cautious in his approach to federal rules and put a lot of stock in cost benefit analysis. President Obama’s new selections of advisers suggest that he is choosing those who are as radical as he is, which does not bode well.

Healthcare, Dodd-Frank, and EPA/ Interior promise some serious concern.  Bad law, and overly ambitious administrators looking for power.


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