March 25, 2014

How the Administration is Keeping Small Businesses Down

Richard Williams

Senior Affiliated Scholar
Summary

Just as President Clinton worked with a Republican Congress, President Obama can work with a Republican Congress, with the nation’s small businesses and would be-entrepreneurs being the primary beneficiaries.

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In 1995, President Bill Clinton determined that small businesses were in dire need of relief from the smothering effect of hundreds of thousands of pages of federal regulations. He worked with a Republican Congress to produce the most significant legislation ever to help small businesses, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act.

By contrast, the current administration has talked about helping small businesses, but continues to enact regulatory policies that limit their ability to profit and deters new businesses from entering the market. In fact, the current plan appears to be one of speeding up regulations.

President Obama has said that “small businesses have always formed the backbone of the American economy. These entrepreneurial pioneers embody the spirit of possibility, the tireless work ethic, and the simple hope for something better that lies at the heart of the American ideal.” But the rate of growth for regulatory restrictions was approximately 38 percent larger for the Obama administration between 2009 and 2012 as it was during a similar number of years for President George W. Bush (2001 to 2004). Restrictions are actual regulatory requirements telling business what they “must’ or “shall” do. But, of course, these are just additions to regulatory restrictions that have been piling up since the 1870’s and now number more than 1 million. And yet Obama, more than any other president, has made decreasing the overall regulatory burden a high priority, issuing a specific executive order to require agencies to decrease the enormous volume of regulations.

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