Biden Administration Hands Down Record Amount of Regulations in April

‘Bidenomics is a form of state capitalism,’ Steve Hanke, economics professor at Johns Hopkins University, stated.

The Biden administration set a major milestone in April, mandating more regulations in a single week than were enacted during both terms of the Obama administration, a new report says.

According to the April 22 ‘Week in Regulation’ report released by the American Action Forum (AAF), a conservative think tank that monitors federal regulations, 20 new federal directives issued the previous week amounted to $875.3 billion in total costs and added 4.7 million annual paperwork burden hours, based on the agencies’ estimates.

Calling it “the biggest week on record” for federal mandates, the AAF stated that more rules were handed down, but the report only accounted for the ones that had quantifiable costs.

Topping the list was new auto tailpipe emissions standards, designed to force automakers to shift production from gas-fueled cars and trucks to electric vehicles (EVs). These standards, issued in final form by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 18, regulate emissions from vehicle tailpipes but do not take into account the extensive CO2 emissions from the mining and refining of battery raw materials or the construction of EVs.

“This tailpipe rule pushed the Biden administration total into the trillions of dollars because that itself was in the hundreds of billions,” Dan Goldbeck, AAF’s director of regulatory policy and author of the study, told The Epoch Times.

Some economists see Bidenomics, a combination of heavy-handed regulation and massive state subsidies, as an unprecedented expansion of government control over private industry.

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“President Biden has radically changed America’s economic template from one in which the core pillar the economy rested on was the free-enterprise private sector to one that rests on the state,” Steve H. Hanke, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University who served on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, told The Epoch Times. “Bidenomics is a form of state capitalism.”

While government industrial policy initiatives like the CHIPS Act lavish billions on large corporations, including Intel ($8.5 billion), the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company ($6.6 billion), Samsung ($6.4 billion), Micron ($6.1 billion) and Global Foundries ($1.5 billion), he said, much of the private sector “has been buried under one new regulation after another, with many deemed necessary to meet climate goals and a variety of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.”

“These will all prove to be very costly,” Mr. Hanke said.

As often occurs with regulations, the actual costs turn out to be much higher than official estimates.

An April 1 report from the House of Representative Budget Committee states: “The green energy and EV tax credits included in the final passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) were initially estimated to cost the taxpayer $369 billion over the next decade. Since then, the revised cost estimate for such provisions has dramatically increased, now hitting an estimated $1.2 trillion.’”

Assessing the regulatory burden under the current and prior administrations, the AAF found that the cost of regulatory final rules issued by the Biden administration through April 26 of this year amounted to $1.47 trillion and 278.6 million paperwork hours.

By comparison, the cost of regulations issued under the Trump administration summed to $26.8 billion and 67.5 million paperwork hours; under eight years of the Obama administration, they totaled $303.4 billion and 236.5 million paperwork hours.

“Nearly all of these regulatory announcements come with claims that they will ‘lower costs for hardworking families,’ and have significant positive economic effects,” Ryan Yonk, an economist with the American Institute for Economic Research, told The Epoch Times. “Despite these claims, regulatory limits on auto emissions increase the costs of new cars, increased requirements for renewables will likely raise prices and make the electrical grid less reliable, EV subsidies cost billions and push consumers to make choices they would not, absent the subsidy.”

Political Motives

Mr. Yonk said the upcoming election was likely a factor in the recent issuance of so many new rules.

“This push is not a surprise as the general electoral season has started, and the new wave of regulatory proposals are all consistent with campaign messaging that seeks to ensure progressive voters vote for the President’s reelection,” he said. “The reality of regulatory pushes driven by electoral considerations, regardless of what they are, is that they end up allowing politicians to claim the benefits and ignore the costs, costs that are paid by the consumer and taxpayer.”

The timing of the regulatory deluge may also be a way to avoid interference from Congress and sidestep GOP efforts to nullify the directives. The 1996 Congressional Review Act (CRA) gives veto power to the legislative branch over laws handed down by the executive branch.

According to the CRA, a simple majority of both the House and the Senate can issue a joint resolution of disapproval for any agency rule, in which case the rule cannot go into effect.

House Republicans have already passed several CRA resolutions, seeking among other things to nullify the SEC’s green accounting rule, which requires all listed companies to produce annual audited reports on their greenhouse gas emissions. GOP representatives also worked to undo the “Principles for Climate-Related Financial Risk Management,” jointly issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Federal Reserve.

There is, however, a 60-day time limit on CRA resolutions, and with the Democrats holding a Senate majority, it is likely that most, if not all, of the Biden administration’s regulations will take effect.

Absent action from Congress, those who oppose administrative lawmaking have turned to the courts.

On March 15, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily blocked the SEC’s climate accounting rule.

The court challenge was brought by plaintiffs, including the fossil fuel industry and 25 state attorneys general led by Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird.

The plaintiffs argued, among other things, that the SEC’s edict was “arbitrary and capricious” and that it violated the “major questions doctrine,” according to which the Supreme Court ruled in cases like West Virginia v. EPA that federal agencies cannot assume powers not explicitly granted to them by Congress, particularly on issues of major importance to Americans.

“The SEC’s job is to protect people from fraud; it has no business slapping companies with extremist climate mandates,” Ms. Bird said in an April 4 statement. “We are making it clear that Biden has to follow the law like everyone else.”

Former President Donald Trump was uniquely active during his administration in canceling and rolling back regulations passed by his predecessors.

“Under the Trump administration, you had a regulatory budget in place that, on the one hand, tried to put forward some deregulatory actions,” Mr. Goldbeck said, “but also mostly tried to constrain the overall magnitude of the rules that had been put out to begin with.”

President Trump reversed more than 100 environmental rules and took other actions to lift burdens on industry such as green-lighting the Keystone Pipeline, which President Biden immediately canceled upon taking office.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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