Senator John Thune: An overly regulated America
March 10, 2017
Many Americans are still reeling from the lingering effects of the Obama economy, and for them, it doesn't matter that economists believe the recovery began (at least on paper) several years ago. For the last eight years, good jobs and opportunities for workers were hard to find. The labor force was at historic lows, inflation far exceeded wage growth, and the economy barely limped along. While some people predict this stagnation will continue for the next several years, there are steps we can take today to get our economy growing again, like by rolling back overly burdensome regulations.
No matter where I traveled in South Dakota over the last few years, I almost always heard from people about the regulatory hurdles created by federal government agencies and the effect they had on families and businesses. The one example I heard most frequently was the now-infamous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. It would have amounted to one of the largest federal land grabs in history. The flawed rule was snagged in legal battles throughout most of the latter years of the Obama administration, and I'm glad President Trump took early and quick action to ensure this poorly crafted rule would never see the light of day.
Not all rules and regulations are bad, but it's things like WOTUS that give the federal bureaucracy a bad name.
Congress and the administration have already started rolling back some of the burdensome regulations that were implemented during the Obama administration. Most recently, Congress eliminated a regulation that imposed unnecessary requirements for businesses that bid on federal government contracts and another that restricted energy production on federal land, among others. These aren't the last regulations that we'll eliminate either.
Obamacare and its pages of regulations, mandates, and taxes is another area where Congress is working quickly to provide relief for businesses and the American people. It's a broken law that has failed to live up to its most fundamental goal of providing low-cost, high-quality care. I support repealing and replacing Obamacare because I believe we can implement better policies that can actually deliver where Obamacare fell so short. Not only would a new and improved system help families and individuals, but it would help small businesses that have been bogged down by Obamacare's red tape, too.
Regulations are like traffic lights in a busy town. If you don't have any traffic lights, it's difficult for people to get from one location to another safely. But if you add too many, you slow down people's progress unnecessarily and make it difficult for them to get anywhere. It's when you strike the right balance – some lights but not too many – that everyone moves effectively, efficiently, and safely. Right now when it comes to federal regulations, we're like the town with too many lights. We need to focus on removing these roadblocks if we want to put our economy on a path to long-term health.