To President-Elect Obamaâ€â€Freeze Gov’t Regulations this Winter

Yesterday I called for a major “Deregulatory Stimulus.”

Alongside—with financial, health care, energy efficiency, “green job” and other mandates likely in an Obama Administration—the manner in which dozens of Departments, agencies and commissions regulate needs some attention too.

Upon raising his hand from the Bible after taking the Oath of Office, President Obama should declare a one year freeze on all new government regulations; he’d naturally exempt those he regards as addressing immediate threats to public health and safety.

The point is, during that freeze, the President should clarify an intention to review all regulations on the books, and streamline and control the $1 trillion regulatory state. His transition handlers have announced a desire to employ Executive Orders; he could use that power to liberalize, not add to burdens to a limping economy.

Here’s a grab bag (non-exclusive and in no particular order) of things to do:

–Implement a bi-partisan “Regulatory Reduction Commission.”
–Re-discover federalism, that is, circumscribe the federal regulatory role regarding health and safety matters best left to states.
–Improve the ethic of quantifying regulatory costs, and selecting the least-cost compliance method.
–Codify Clinton’s executive order on “Regulatory Planning and Review” (E.O. 12866), or better, Reagan’s E.O. 12291.
–Require OMB’s Regulatory Information Service Center to publish number of major and minor rules produced by each agency, and strengthen its oversight.
–Reinstate the Regulatory Program of the U.S. Government, which used to appear routinely as a companion document to the Budget.
–Enlarge regulatory flexibility and exemptions for small business
–Declare Federal Register notices as insufficient notice to small business
–Hold hearings to boost the scope of the Small Business Administrations’ “r3” regulatory review program.
–Lower the threshold at which a point-of-order against unfunded mandates applies.
–Lower the threshold for what counts as an “economically significant” rule, and improve explicit cost analysis.
–Explore, hold hearings on, and devise a limited “regulatory budget.”
–Establish an annual Presidential address or statement on the state of regulation and its impact on productivity and GDP.
–Sunset regulations after fixed period unless explicit reauthorization is made. (It’s been said that regulations should expire like a carton of milk).
–Implement a supermajority requirement for extraordinarily costly mandates.
–Challenge and reject delegation of legislative authority from Congress to agencies; That is, require Congressional fast-track approval before major or non-quantifiable agency-promulgated regulations take effect.

That’s a start. Stay tuned.  I’ll say more on some of these in the future, or check out for more.