Commentary: America’s peeling back Obama administration red tape

There is nothing quite like the power of American ingenuity and innovation. Nowhere in the country is there a better example of economic growth and empowerment on display than right here in Texas.

A primary reason for that? Freedom. Specifically, there is simply less government intrusion into the daily lives of families and businesses because we believe when government gets out of the way, Texans thrive.

Here, we know individuals and markets are the best decision-makers, not the heavy hand of government regulations dictating each of our choices.

At the federal level, however, they’ve got some work to do. The good news is that the new administration is beginning the long process of restoring constitutional power back to Congress and reining in unaccountable bureaucrats in the executive branch.

Thus far, Congress has passed and the president has signed 14 resolutions that have repealed stifling Obama-era regulations, such as the onerous “stream protection rule,” the rule on state education plans and accountability metrics and several dictates relating to land use.

Regulations don’t just limit freedom; they are also costly. Last year, regulations for consumers and businesses cost Americans a staggering $1.9 trillion. To get this hidden tax under control and maximize individual liberty, the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to review all new red tape, should be used to roll back several abusive, unnecessarily expensive and ineffective regulations. For example:

• The Clean Power Plan: The costliest remaining Obama-era rule, the CPP would cost at a minimum $7 billion a year, according to our analysis. Other groups have come up with even higher cost estimates. This rule imposed new restrictions on carbon emissions from power plants that many believe was intended to be a death blow to the coal industry. Aside from increasing electricity rates by nearly 20 percent, the rule has been estimated to cost, at minimum, 300,000 jobs.

• The Waters of the U.S. Rule: As egregious a rule as has ever been issued, WOTUS would redefine “navigable waterways” in such a manner to incorporate freestanding drainage water, ponds and rain water to potential regulatory action. This would have an outsized and significantly negative impact on Texas farmers’ and ranchers’ property rights.

• DOE’s Regulations on Utilities: In 2015, the Department of Energy issued rules relating to energy usage for a host of household and business appliances — these include fluorescent lights, ceiling fans and vending machines. The total cost of these regulations amounts to $1.6 billion annually.

There are numerous other Obama-era job-killing and expensive regulations that need attention, but the above are of critical importance for the well-being of communities and businesses in Texas and across the country and should be addressed immediately.

Additionally, as it relates to the recent devastation from Hurricane Harvey, Washington lawmakers should do everything in their power to ensure that federal regulations and legislation does not inhibit the recovery process.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Texas news to your Facebook feed.

Private charity and private action from Texans and Americans has led the way for Texas to recover. This should continue and be encouraged. Texas has the opportunity to show the nation how strong we are by footing as much of the recovery bill as possible without reliance on federal largesse. If Texas is different, we should prove it.

Any federal dollars coming into Texas should be monitored, so we know how those dollars are being used and whether they are truly going to emergency disaster recovery. And any further action from Congress should focus future funding solely on repairing infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) and assisting in ongoing Army Corps projects — whether it’s dredging at ports or repairing dams and waterways.

Federal rules and regulations are a very real and expensive burden on Americans. They drive up the cost of everyday items families need and make it harder for the economy to grow — a critical feature of job creation. They are often a barrier to agencies, charities and even brave individuals taking quick and emergency action to get people help.

President Trump is right to address these serious issues — and Texas stands ready to work with him to keep solving the problems caused by expensive and ineffective regulations.

Roberts is executive vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. White is a senior policy analyst. This commentary was published by TribTalk.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Moms are fighting for gun violence prevention in Texas – and winning
Moms are fighting for gun violence prevention in Texas – and winning

Five years ago, I watched news of the Sandy Hook school shooting unfold in horror. When the scope of the tragedy was confirmed, I got up to tell my husband, only to fall to the floor. Although I didn’t know the families impacted by this devastating shooting, as a mom of two young kids, it felt deeply personal to me. Immediately after Sandy Hook...
Facebook comments: Jan. 21, 2018
Facebook comments: Jan. 21, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Mark D. Wilson and Sebastian Herrera, Amazon announced that Austin made its short list of 20 cities that could become the site of its second headquarters. More than 238 cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico submitted applications for Amazon’s HQ2. Dallas was the only other Texas city to make the cut...
Herman: Let’s eavesdrop on two Texas Repubs going at it on Twitter
Herman: Let’s eavesdrop on two Texas Repubs going at it on Twitter

Through the miracle (menace?) of Twitter, let’s eavesdrop on a conversation between two of our duly elected state officials. But first, let’s meet our players. State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (known to some as “Sticky”) is a Republican from the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Bedford. He’s a keep-government-out-of-our-lives...
Letters to the editor: Jan. 21, 2018
Letters to the editor: Jan. 21, 2018

Re: Jan. 16 commentary, “Herman: Sen. John Cornyn continues to tolerate President Trump.” Sen. Cornyn does more than “tolerate” President Trump. He voted for him, and by remaining silent when the president lies, bullies someone, insults our allies, makes a racist comment, or attacks America’s free press and all the millions...
‘Oliver Loving’ is a vividly rendered exploration of school shootings
‘Oliver Loving’ is a vividly rendered exploration of school shootings

Ten years later, a school shooting in West Texas is revisited from the perspective of a family it changed forever in Stefan Merrill Block’s “Oliver Loving.” What we know, what Eve Loving, her husband, Jed, and their son, Charlie, know, is this: a recent graduate named Hector Espina Jr. returned to the Bliss Township School campus...
More Stories