Economy

America’s Ever-Expanding Regulatory Swamp

Maybe I’m biased because I mostly work on fiscal policy, but it certainly seems feasible to come up with rough estimates for the damage caused by onerous taxes and excessive spending.

On a personal level, for instance, we have a decent idea of how much the government takes from us and we know the aggravation of annual tax returns. And we tend to have some exposure to government bureaucracies, so we’re familiar with the concept of wasteful spending.

But how do you quantify the cost of regulation and red tape? Well, here are some very large numbers to digest.

Americans spend 8.8 billion hours every year filling out government forms.

The economy-wide cost of regulation is now $1.75 trillion.

For every bureaucrat at a regulatory agency, 100 jobs are destroyed in the economy’s productive sector.

The Obama Administration added $236 billion of red tape in 2012 alone.

In other words, the regulatory burden is enormous, but I worry that these numbers lack context and that most of us don’t really grasp how we’re hurt by government intervention.

So let’s look at some additional data.

Shock poll: Americans believe government anti-poverty programs cause more poverty, and they’re absolutely right

It isn’t news to conservatives that government programs do not reduce poverty levels. What is news is that 49% of Americans apparently believe that not only do government anti-poverty programs fail, but they also may increase the level of poverty.

A recent Rasmussen poll also pointed out that people that personally witness what happens when people receive government assistance are more likely than those that don’t to believe that anti-poverty programs actually increase the poverty level. While these findings are trending slightly lower than results from previous years, it is still a sign that the public may not believe that the government can resolve the issue of poverty through assistance programs.

A more profound indication of that belief is seen when people stated their thoughts about the number of people receiving government assistance - 67% believe that too many people are dependent on the government. Additionally, 62% believe that the government needs to be smaller, offering fewer programs. The same percentage of adults are keeping up with government program issues in the news.

These are excellent numbers for conservatives, if they can manage to deliver a message that the public wants to hear. Theoretically, the public is ready to see changes in anti-poverty programs. The problem isn’t selling the concept of welfare reform - it is with offering an alternative that isn’t perceived as harmful to the people that truly need assistance. This shouldn’t be extremely difficult, because 64% of Americans think that too many people that do not actually need assistance are receiving it.

Hey, Barack Obama, businesses are moving overseas because of a terrible tax climate made worse by you

There’s been a lot of talk lately from President Barack Obama and administration officials about “economic patriotism.” They say that corporations shouldn’t be allowed to move overseas to escape paying the corporate income tax.

“Even as corporate profits are higher than ever, there’s a small but growing group of big corporations that are fleeing the country to get out of paying taxes,” President Obama said at a stop in Los Angeles on Thursday. “They’re keeping, usually, their headquarters here in the U.S. They don’t want to give up the best universities and the best military and all the advantages of operating in the United States. They just don’t want to pay for it. So they’re technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship.”

Earlier this month, President Obama suggested that Congress (read: Republicans) lack “economic patriotism” to work with his administration on issues the country faces. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew dropped the same term in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) as he urged Congress to pass legislation to end corporate inversions.

“What we need as a nation is a new sense of economic patriotism, where we all rise or fall together. We know that the American economy grows best when the middle class participates fully and when the economy grows from the middle out,” Lew wrote in the letter to Wyden. “We should not be providing support for corporations that seek to shift their profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

Hey, Leftists, “economic patriotism” should mean getting government out of the way for business owners to succeed

Business owners will do anything to make sure their businesses are successful.

A strong feeling of apathy, sometimes, is the natural consequence of having experienced too many obstacles in the process of getting your idea off the ground. Every now and then, would-be entrepreneurs become frustrated and walk away. Others end up looking for diverse, creative ways of getting around what they deem too complicated.

What all business owners have in common is the urge to make things happen: a kind of acute dedication harbored only by people fired up by a strong sense of purpose. They are everywhere, from your favorite food truck’s owner to Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk. They will go to great lengths to get things done.

While on my trip to Detroit for a series of panels and interviews facilitated by the Virginia-based Franklin Center, I had the opportunity to talk to the owner of a small tavern in the downtown area known as Greektown.

The Firebird Tavern, Tony Piraino said, had gone under a series of small changes to its structure to please the ever-changing city health codes. Every now and then, the city’s health inspector appears to come up with a new thing the owner must do to make sure the place is up to date with the local regulations if he wants to continue to operate legally.

The latest changes, however, cost Mr. Piranio a couple of thousands of dollars. A quantity of cash not all small business owners have at their disposal with ease. And what was so pressing that needed such an urgent change? The doors inside of the tavern, which is housed by a Victorian style building with creaky wooden floor and charming, thick, exposed brick walls, needed panic bars. Were the doors not opening and closing before that just with a slight push?

Obama’s economy: 63 percent of Millennials say the American Dream is impossible to achieve

For many immigrants, the American Dream has always meant living on your means and searching for your own happiness in an unrestrained fashion, like Americans always have been able to do.

While many often agree with that definition, they have started letting skepticism and pessimism bias get the best of them.

Can you blame them?

More than 480,000 people under the age of 25 left the workforce in April while Democrats celebrate the drop in the country’s unemployment rates. About 40 percent of college graduates are unable to find work and at least 29 percent of Millennials choose to stay home and live with their parents.

According to a poll carried out by CNN and ORC International, not even American exceptionalism is engaging citizens lately.

The results show that Americans are having a hard time agreeing that the American Dream is a possibility, whether they agree with the definition provided in this article or not.

A shocking 63 percent of Millennials, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, say that the American Dream has become impossible to achieve.

Some experts believe that the pessimism is the result of the harsh financial reality of many low- and middle-income Americans. Also, according to the poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the next generation will not grow up to be better off than their parents.

The grim outlook could simply mean that this generation is more realistic about their country’s economic reality, but it could also be a reflection of their ultimate disappointment in this administration.

President Obama made it to the White House with the help of Millennials who were simply tired of having their lives being held hostage by big government policies, but Obama is managing to disappoint everyone.

That’s it?: Sequester spending cuts claimed only one federal job

The Budget Control Act of 2011 was one of the few decent pieces of legislation passed by Congress. The bipartisan measure did increase the statutory borrowing limit for the federal government, but it at least mandate $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts to the project rate of spending growth from 2012 to 2021.

That sounds like a lot of money, but the cuts were a fraction of total spending in the 10-year budget window. At best, the sequester was look at as a “good start,” not some sort of cureall for the nation’s fiscal woes.

President Barack Obama promised to veto any attempt to stop the cuts enacted through the Budget Control Act. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) hailed the sequester, calling the cuts “important for the fact that our economy needs to get going.”

Not long after the sequester was passed and signed into law, however, both White House and Republican leaders began complaining about the automatic cuts. President Obama reversed course and complained about the “meat-cleaver approach” to the budget deficit, claiming that the cuts “are not smart,” “not fair,” and “will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls.”

Current Job Market for Teens is the Toughest on Record

Thomas Sowell used his latest piece to address a common misconception regarding the left’s avowed concern for minorities. In his column, the renowned economist pointed out that the educational policies pursued by the left in the name of the poor and the minorities often hurt those they claim to protect.

The same can be said about other policies pursued by Democrats who tend to defend that more interventionism will undoubtedly lead to more opportunities for the poor, the young and the minorities.

According to a Brookings Institute study, teens have been having a harder time finding jobs in recent years. In 2000, research shows that 45% of teens in the U.S. had jobs, now only 26% of teens aged 16 to 19 are employed.

Researchers used Department of Labor and Census data to track youth employment among the 100 largest metro areas in the country. The study shows that 1.8 million teens are either actively looking for a job but are unable to get one or they have part-time jobs, whereas they’d prefer to obtain full-time employment instead. The study refers to this pattern as “underutilization,” which means that teens are not satisfied or financially stable to focus solely on school.

In other words, more teens need to work but are unable to find work.

Should we get involved in Ukraine?

Ukraine is a complicated question worldwide. It is a relatively large Eastern European economy – certainly the biggest, after Russia, among the former Soviet Republics. It is also a major natural gas conduit for sales of Russian natural gas from Russia to the European Union.

As such, it’s important to Russia, not just as a transit point for natural gas to its biggest customers in Europe, but also as a large economy that exports a lot of its agricultural products, its workers and its steel to Russia. Having an economy such as this in the Russian-led customs union would lend legitimacy to an organization the Russians have been trying to transform into a European Union-type economic alliance.

In this post I’m going to attempt to lay out some issues, as well as some possible outcomes and solutions.

First, let’s get something straight. There have been rumblings that the U.S. government has somehow been funding the protesters in Ukraine, hoping to topple the corrupt, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. This is a silly idea. Why would the United States work to create a power vacuum? Why would the United States want to facilitate the rise to power of Julia Timoshenko, who by many accounts is just as corrupt as Yanukovych AND has ties to organized crime? It doesn’t make sense.

State of the Union Promises Millennials the Short End of the Stick

Contained within last night’s speech were many examples of how young people lose out in the big-government status quo.

It’s easy to lampoon the State of the Union address. A speech full of pomp and circumstance but relatively devoid of specifics is difficult to take seriously.

Few can see through the charade more clearly than younger generations. Marketers and ad execs know that traditional TV marketing techniques are ineffective with Millennials, so it’s obvious last night’s promises are liable to fall particularly flat with 20-somethings.

Young people today face a government that is more bloated, more invasive, and less efficient than ever. Tuesday night’s speech promised to continue this status quo.

The State of the Union was a study in contrasts and omitted information, and young people can see right through it. The President praised a low unemployment rate – leaving out the fact that the job-seeking numbers are low because many people have given up on finding work. He touted a reduced deficit – while praising the end of the Budget Control Act and sequester that led to the reduction.

72% of Americans See Big Government as the Greatest Threat

big government

Since Barack Obama took office in 2009, more Americans say that big government is a much greater threat to the country than big business. The latest Gallup shows that the number of Americans who believe that big government is the biggest threat to the United States has been increasing in a rather steady fashion.

According to Gallup, 72% percent of Americans now believe that big government is the number one threat to the country. The poll also demonstrated that only 21% of Americans now believe that big business is the major issue. The historical high choosing big business over big government or big labor, 38%, was registered in 2002.

 


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