Taking money off the table

The range of higher taxes looming Jan. 1 as part of the "fiscal cliff" are not the only blow the economy could suffer, John Berlau told us; he's the senior fellow for finance and access to capital at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "There's the regulatory cliff, as we call it," he said.

"The Obama administration put a lot of rules on hold during the election. There will be hundreds of new regulations" stemming from laws Congress wrote, but which require the interpretation and implementation of federal bureaucrats.

He said that new Environmental Protection Agency rules could severely damage the coal industry. And EPA rules over "fracking" techniques could damage the resurgent oil industry. The Dodd-Frank financial regulations also will be hurting community banks, he said. CEI is involved in a lawsuit to challenge Dodd-Frank on constitutional grounds.