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Guest column/End over-regulation now

January 7, 2012
By BILL JOHNSON , The Herald-Star

One "regulation nation" under God?

Is that what's really happening to our country? In the time it will take you to read this column, out-of-control federal regulations will take nearly $10 million more from our economy. According to the Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost taxpayers $1.75 trillion annually. That's a lot of jobs. If that money was kept in the economy, 17.5 million jobs could be created with salaries well over $100,000. And, with 14 million Americans out of work, we can no longer afford such costly and oppressive federal regulations.

Now, please understand, I believe that common-sense regulations that keep our food safe, our air clean and our nation secure are critically important. But, there is no question that this bloated federal government is out of control. And, as a result, we've become a "regulation nation." Just this year alone, President Barack Obama proposed more than 200 new regulations costing taxpayers and our economy $100 million each. Last year, the Obama administration listed more than 4,000 regulations "under development." In Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, tens of thousands of coal industry jobs are at risk from just one of the administration's proposed regulations. Imagine what will happen if Obama has his way with the other 199 proposed regulations and the 4,000 that he's "developing."

So far this year, the Obama administration has added more than 77,000 pages worth of new regulations. These new regulations will cost businesses both large and small 118 million man-hours to follow. This administration is burying job creators in red tape, and then wonders why unemployment is so high. As I travel up and down Eastern Ohio, I hear a recurring theme from businesses: government regulations are making it difficult to hire new employees, expand their businesses, innovate and compete. Job creators need economic certainty. Today, it costs the average business more than $10,000 per employee to comply with federal regulations.

So what's the solution to this regulation epidemic? The Regulations from the Executive in need of Scrutiny Act takes us one step closer to solving this problem. I voted for this important piece of legislation. It completely overhauls the federal regulatory process, and puts the American people back in charge of the regulatory process. In this bill, Congress must approve any major new regulation proposed by the White House. It is long past time that we take the regulatory process away from unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and return it to the People's House. Federal bureaucrats must get out of the way of job creation. The Senate must pass this bill, and the president must sign it into law.

I was elected to serve you, the people of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. I will continue to fight for a more limited, effective, efficient and responsible federal government, lower taxes and real economic growth. We must get America's economy moving again. We must put people back to work. The skilled, hard-working people of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio are ready and willing to go to work. Our businesses want to grow. Yet, unelected bureaucrats in this administration use the federal regulatory process to keep job creators on the sidelines - faceless federal employees, paid for by you, deciding what's best for you. You deserve more and better from your federal government.

The solution to getting our economy moving again is clear and simple. We must end federal over-regulation and let our job creators do what they do best, create jobs.

(Johnson, R-Marietta, represents Ohio's 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.)

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