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US Air Force scraps 16 cargo planes it bought for $500million for Afghan army for just $32,000

The fleet of C-27As were bought for Afghan forces and stored in Kabul
Were allegedly taken apart to save money as forces withdraw
Controversial move has prompted an investigation by John Spako
Special inspector for reconstruction will ask why money wasn’t ‘salvaged’
Pentagon considering what to do with last four planes stored in Germany
The US Air Force is facing an investigation over why it destroyed 16 cargo planes worth nearly $500million and turned them into $32,000 of scrap metal.
The fleet of 16 C-27As that were bought for the Afghan Army and stored in Kabul International Airport were taken apart to allegedly save costs as forces continue to withdraw from the country.
It has prompted an investigation by John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, who will question why there wasn’t an effort to ‘salvage’ taxpayers’ money.

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Destroyed: The fleet of 16 C-27As (one pictured) that were bought for the Afghan Army and stored in Kabul International Airport were taken apart to allegedly save costs as forces continue to withdraw from the country
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Scrapped: The US Air Force now faces a probe as to why the planes, which cost $500million were turned into $32,000 of scrap metal. They will also be asked why the money wasn’t ‘salvaged’
He asked Air Force Secretary Deborah James to document all decisions made about the destruction of the aircraft.
‘I am concerned that the officials responsible for planning and executing the scrapping of the planes may not have considered other possible alternatives in order to salvage taxpayer dollars,’ he said.
Sopko also asked if any other parts of the planes had been sold before they were destroyed by the Defense Logistics Agency.
Sopko’s office has been investigating the matter since December 2013 after numerous non-profit groups and military officials raised questions about funds wasted on the planes.
The U.S. government spent $486 million to buy and refurbish 20 older C-27A airplanes from Alenia, a unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA, but later canceled the program because a lack of spare parts was severely limiting their availability for military use.Base:

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Base: The refurbished planes were stored at Kabul International Airport for years but have now been scrapped

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Questions: In an interview last year John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said it wasunclear if the move to take apart the planes was criminal fraud or mismanagement
Instead, the Pentagon decided to buy four larger C-130 planes built by Lockheed Martin Corp to do the work.
Pentagon spokesman Major Brad Avots said the U.S. military decided to destroy the planes ‘to minimize impact on drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan,’ but would provide more information after a review.
Avots said the Pentagon and Air Force would consider various options for the remaining four planes, including possible sale to other parties.
‘Working in a wartime environment such as Afghanistan brings with it many challenges, and we continually seek to improve our processes,’ he said.

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Under used: In January 2013, the Pentagon’s inspector general office said the aircraft flew only 234 of the 4,500 required hours fromJanuary through September 2012
He said the U.S. military was also working to help Afghanistan ‘improve accountability and help instill sound financial management practices in daily operations while reducing the risk of fraud, waste and abuse.’
In an interview last year with NBC News, Sopko said it was unclear if the incident was criminal fraud or mismanagement, but the waste was not an isolated incident in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon’s inspector general has also investigated the issue, which the non-profit Project on Government Oversight calls ‘a shining example of the billions wasted in Afghanistan.’
In January 2013, the Pentagon’s inspector general office said the aircraft flew only 234 of the 4,500 required hours from January through September 2012. The office also said about $200 million were needed to buy spare parts for the planes.

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Under investigation: Air Force Secretary Deborah James (middle) has been asked to document all decisions made about the destruction of the aircraft

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2787460/U-S-Air-Force-probed-scrapping-costly-planes-bought-Afghans.html#ixzz3GPaQu3K7
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School District Quits Michelle Obama Lunch Program

This is not the first time a school district has quit what has been promoted as the Michelle Obama lunch program, but the fact that an Illinois school district is opting out of the system tells you it is truly an intolerable food arrangement. School lunches

The state’s second largest school district has started the school year with a new look for its lunch menu, after opting out of the National School Lunch Program and forfeiting nearly $1 million in federal funding, to gain more freedom in the food it serves students.

In May, the board for Township High School District 214 voted to drop out of the federal program, after deciding its guidelines were too restrictive. For instance, kids would not have been able to buy hard-boiled eggs or certain types of yogurt. School officials also have noted new guidelines consider hummus to be too high in fat, and pretzels to be too high in salt; non-fat milk containers larger than 12 ounces could not be sold either.

I know it is slightly off topic but I have to wonder: is current nutritional science really this hateful and hurtful? Is it really impossible to eat good food that is healthy for you and that satisfies you? Reading about these guidelines gives one the impression they are designed to produce malnourished teens that are constantly distracted by hunger. (But what do I know? I drink my coffee with butter and coconut oil.)

In any case, the school district is “rebelling.” That is how I have described other schools doing the same thing, as have many other conservatives. But some of the details in this story make me realize it is not so much about them rebelling as that they are financially forced to opt out of the Federal program. While the story claims that the school district “forfeit[ed] nearly $1 million in federal funding to gain more freedom,” it later becomes clear that they did not forfeit anything. The program effectively ended the reimbursement program.

Here’s how it worked.

Schools that serve the lunches can get a certain amount reimbursed. But in order to get reimbursed, the students must actually purchase the food. But the students stopped buying the food. So rather than get money the school district was losing money. It was spending money to acquire and prepare food that no one would buy. So the school was stuck with food and no way to cover their costs.

Johnson said, the concern was, in addition to the federal guidelines being too restrictive on menu choices, sales of the food they could offer wouldn’t be high enough to receive federal aid.

“What would happen is the sales simply wouldn’t be there, and the offerings that we would currently have wouldn’t be available,” Johnson said.

The bottom line, according to Johnson, is if schools can’t sell the healthy meals allowed under the federal program, they also wouldn’t receive any federal funding, so District 214 opted for healthy options kids would eat.

So the real story here is not heroic schools (though I am happy with their decision). The real story is that the best and brightest who came up with this plan and got Michelle Obama to push it seemed to have assumed that the students would compliantly put into their mouths whatever the Federal government dictated to them. What does it tell us about the regime that they have so completely misunderstood how the public would respond?

Read more at http://politicaloutcast.com/2014/09/school-district-quits-michelle-obama-lunch-program/#DqIyXmm6MBljUMiv.99

REGULATION NATION: Obama oversees expansion of the regulatory state

By Ben Goad and Julian Hattemregulations

President Obama has overseen a dramatic expansion of the regulatory state that will outlast his time in the White House.

The reach of the executive branch has advanced steadily on his watch, further solidifying the power of bureaucrats who churn out regulations that touch nearly every aspect of American life and business.

Experts debate whether federal rule-making has accelerated under Obama, but few dispute that Washington, for better or worse, is reaching deeper than ever before into the workings of society.

“It would be difficult for anyone to pretend that this isn’t a high-water mark in terms of regulation,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office who now heads the American Action Forum.

Obama famously signaled his intent to use the machinery of government to further his policy goals after the 2010 elections, declaring: “Where Congress won’t act, I will.”

Since then, the administration has pressed ahead unilaterally on several fronts, including immigration, gun control, cybersecurity and sentencing guidelines for drug offenses.

Meanwhile, new federal rules are accumulating faster than outdated ones are removed, resulting in a steady increase in the number of federal mandates.

Data collected by researchers at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center shows that the Code of Federal Regulations, where all rules and regulations are detailed, has ballooned from 71,224 pages in 1975 to 174,545 pages last year.

“All incentives are to regulate more,” said Susan Dudley, the director of George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center.

The fight over executive power is increasingly pitting the three branches of government against each other, with Congress and the judiciary struggling to assert power over officials with broad discretion to issue rules.

While Republican lawmakers have scored victories in the messaging battle over regulations, they say proponents of a more activist government are winning the war.

“We sit back and watch this erosion and watch, really, an executive branch that has, I think, arrogant powers of overseeing things,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) told The Hill.

Taken separately, the public tends to support individual regulations.

A Gallup poll earlier this year found that 82 percent of Americans either believe the government is doing the right amount or needs to do more to protect the environment, while two-thirds say they would support stricter standards for food sold in public schools.

But critics, including industry groups and congressional Republicans, charge that the cumulative affect of the mounting red tape is crushing businesses.

“All the kinds of things we say we want: an expanding economy, more opportunity, more jobs — all of them are stifled by the regulatory oppression that’s occurred,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.). 


Obama has responded to business’s concerns with a regulatory “look-back” aimed at scrapping old rules on the books. Howard Shelanski, the administration’s regulatory chief, told Congress last month that the effort had turned up hundreds of regulatory reform proposals, just a few of which could save up to $10 billion.

But the process of getting rid of regulations is easier said than done, experts say.

“Once a regulation is in place, there are some groups that benefit from it, and they will fight very hard not to have those benefits taken away,” Dudley said.

Supporters of stronger regulation reject the criticisms of Obama’s tenure. What business groups term “burdensome” rule-making, they say, is often critical work that protects people from tainted food, unscrupulous bankers, dirty air and countless other dangers.


“I think that’s a function of the fact that there are more threats to the public health and safety emerging on a regular basis, being identified on a regular basis,” said Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen.

To be sure, the explosive growth in federal rule-making did not begin with the Obama White House. The 13,000 rules finalized during the president’s first term, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), were slightly fewer than those published during former President George W. Bush’s first term.



Yet the quantity of federal regulations is increasing by some measures at a quickening pace. 



More “major rules,” those with an annual economic impact exceeding $100 million, were enacted in 2010 than in any year dating back to at least 1997, according to the CRS.



And over Obama’s first three years in office, the Code of Federal Regulations increased by 7.4 percent, according to data compiled by the Chamber of Commerce. In comparison, the regulatory code grew by 4.4 percent during Bush’s first term. 


None of these metrics are ideal measures of the growth of the regulatory state, but the available research suggests an “incredibly intense period of regulation” in the Obama years, Holtz-Eakin said.

Much of the activity can be attributed to two sweeping pieces of legislation: ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Both called for hundreds of regulatory actions on banking, insurance charges, business disclosures and other issues. Many of the rules are still under construction, their final language the subject of heated debate and fierce lobbying.

But Obama has also embraced the power of his office and administration to enact major policy shifts.

Nowhere is that more evident that at the Environmental Protection Agency, where officials are using authority granted by the Clean Air Act to draft a host of rules that are designed to combat climate change.

Industry groups have assailed the climate push as an assault on jobs, but supporters say it’s an example of agencies executing the laws that Congress has passed.

“The agency [regulation critics] love to hate the most — EPA — is responding to unequivocal statutory deadlines,” said Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform. “If they don’t like these rules, they can set about amending the Clean Air Act.”

Despite Republican efforts, many observers expect the Obama administration to become more aggressive on the regulatory front.

In their second terms — and especially with a Congress that has passed as few laws as the current one — presidents tend to take matters into their own hands.

Long-sought rules to limit construction workers’ exposure to dangerous silica dust, require rearview cameras on cars and give overtime- and minimum-wage rights to in-home care workers have each been stalled for more than a year but could soon see the light of day.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department and the EPA have instituted new standards on everything from tailpipe emissions to the energy efficiency of microwaves, and the Labor Department has long been working on rules to improve workplace safety, reduce discrimination and regulate pensions.

Supporters of aggressive federal rule-making have high hopes that Obama will act boldly during the remainder of his term.

“I think you have cases where Congress has not been able to address threats to the public,” said Katie Greenhaw, a regulatory policy analyst at the Center for Effective Government. “So if there is existing authority, agencies have obligations to use that authority to protect the public.”

EDITORS’ NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories that will look at the growth of the regulatory state and its impact on the country.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/administration/317485-regulation-nation-obama-expands-the-regulatory-state#ixzz2ccEYgCQ0
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IN TOW

In-Tow

Obama’s Eco-Assault on America

by Arnold Ahlert
ECO
Obama announced a sweeping series of initiatives, including the use of executive powers, to combat global warming. The plan will involve federal funding for renewable energy technology, and spending for areas hit by storms and droughts aggravated by an allegedly changing climate. Yet the most ambitious part of his agenda is an effort to force a reduction in so-called greenhouse gases from the nation’s coal-fired power plants. Prior to the speech, Daniel P. Schrag, a White House environmentalism adviser and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, got to the nub of that agenda: “Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal,” he explained. “On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained the consequences of such a war. “Declaring a ‘War on Coal’ is tantamount to declaring a war on jobs,” he said. “It’s tantamount to kicking the ladder out from beneath the feet of many Americans struggling in today’s economy.”

McConnell is exactly right. While the percentage has been declining, coal-fired power plants are still responsible for producing 40 percent of the nation’s electricity. Yet that is an overall number. Some states are far more dependent, including West Virginia, which garners 97 of its electrical needs from coal. Curtailing coal usage for generating electricity will invariably drive up the cost of purchasing electricity for households and businesses.

The president couldn’t care less. Like so many leftists, he has bought into the idea that any challenge to the global warming agenda is tantamount to heresy. ”We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society,” Obama said. ”Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.”

The so-called coming storm may take a while to get here. A report released by Spiegel science journal reveals that global warming has stopped. “[Fifteen] years without warming are now behind us” writes Spiegel journalist Axel Bojanowski. ”The stagnation of global near-surface average temperatures shows that the uncertainties in the climate prognoses are surprisingly large.” Moreover, despite a report in March by The Economist noting that the world has added “roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010,” comprising “about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750,” no global warming occurred during that time frame. In fact, some scientists are actually predicting that we may be on the verge of another Little Ice Age similar to the one that occurred from 1275 to 1300 A.D., due in large part to an unexplainable collapse in sunspot activity.

Which scientific camp is right? That is something the scientific community must determine, based on scientific evidence — not the political coercion that far too often accompanies government-funded studies. Yet the president has staked out his position irrespective of science. He is directing the EPA to draft rules on the allowable levels of carbon emissions by existing coal plants, rules he expects to be completed by 2015. Obama intends to reduce Americans’s greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Under current law, the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases, due to a 2007 Supreme Court decision. However, under the provisions of that Clean Air Act, the EPA cannot do so on its own, but must develop standards in accordance with the states.

Congress is another story. As far as the president is concerned, congressional input is completely unnecessary. “This is a challenge that does not pause for partisan gridlock,” Obama contended.

Ironically, partisan gridlock on this particular issue is nowhere to be found. No Congress, controlled by either party, has been able to approve anything resembling the kind of carbon reduction scheme being proposed by the president. That includes a cap-and-trade plan that died in 2010, when Democrats had unassailable control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) directly addressed that reality, and the economic one as well. “These policies, rejected even by the last Democratic-controlled Congress, will shutter power plants, destroy good-paying American jobs and raise electricity bills,” he said in a statement. Scott H. Segal, who represents utilities at the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani was even more direct. “The administration needs to explain why it needs old-style, command-and-control regulation when the market is moving in that direction anyway,” he said, referring to the reality that both falling prices of natural gas and increased use of it is already moving the nation away from coal.

The president’s plan would dramatically alter that trajectory. According to the Heritage Foundation, the artificial shrinkage of coal supplies would drive up the cost of natural gas by as much as 42 percent by 2030. Furthermore, as Heritage’s Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow Nicolas Loris notes, even measures far more radical than those proposed by the president will be of little consequence:

But let’s pretend we were able to stop emitting all carbon immediately. Forget the electricity to cool our homes in the summer months. Shut down the power plants. Stop driving our cars. No talking. The Science and Public Policy Institute found that the global temperature would decrease by 0.17 degrees Celsius–by 2100. These regulations are all pain no gain.

They are also completely anathema to emerging nations like India, China, and a host of other countries who aren’t about to reduce their standards of living to accommodate Obama’s pie-in-the-sky priorities.

Those priorities more than likely include killing the Keystone XL Pipeline project. The president insisted it can only be approved if it would not “significantly exacerbate” greenhouse gas emissions. Russell K. Girling, the chief executive of TransCanada, the company seeking a permit to build Keystone, contends the project meets the president’s proposed standard, even as he warned that substitute transpiration for Canadian oil, such as trucking or rail, poses significant environmental problems as well.

Even more disastrous is the president’s call for massive investment in “renewable electricity generation,” meaning large-scale wind- and solar-generated electrical facilities. Because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, such facilities would require conventional backup systems. As the Energy Information Agency reveals such inefficient and costly systems only become feasible ”in response to federal tax credits, state-level policies, and federal requirements to use more biomass-based transportation fuels.” In other words, without government coercion, no one would build an electrical generating facility requiring backup — or use food food fuel — simply to assuage environmentalist sensibilities.

Or is that the sensibilities of the so-called one-percenters? It is truly remarkable how many wealthy individuals are dedicated environmentalists, as long as that dedication only applies to “other people.” Perhaps the ultimate personification of such overt hypocrisy is Al Gore, who has made millions promoting the cataclysmic effects of climate change, even as he rides around in private jets and limousines, maintains a 20-room home and pool house that used more than 20 times the national average of electricity usage in 2006, and recently sold his media network to an oil-funded company for $500 million.

Gore is far from alone. As a 2007 Wall Street Journal column by Robert Frank reveals, the rich long ago reconciled the disconnect between their environmentalist sensibilities and lavish lifestyles. Their purchases of “carbon offsets” ostensibly atone for the sin of living large, and frees them to pressure “lesser mortals” to embrace a more “environmentally correct” lifestyle, also known as a lower standard of living. It’s a nice racket if you can afford it. Not so nice if you are poor or middle class and the radical one-percenters expect you to make do with less or do without.

Whether the president himself embraces such overt hypocrisy is irrelevant. There will never be a single moment in which he or any member of his family will be forced to “walk the environmentalist walk” he would readily impose on the American public, whether they want it, or not. That would be the same American public who will bear the brunt of higher costs for virtually everything, which means higher standards of living will be even more difficult to obtain for the less (and least) well-off.

Americans will also bear the brunt of unintended and unforeseen consequences, best described by the Washington Times’ Paul Driessen. He explains the EPS’s heavy-handedness will lead to “unprecedented sleep deprivation, lower economic and educational status, and soaring anxiety and stress…likely to lead to greater risk of strokes and heart attacks; higher incidences of depression, alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse; more suicides; and declining overall life expectancy.” He further notes the government’s push with regard to fuel-efficient cars “will force more people into smaller, lighter, less-safe cars–causing thousands of needless additional serious injuries and deaths every year.”

Driessen then illuminates the Obama administration’s modus operandi, explaining that “increasingly powerful bureaucrats–who seek and acquire ever-more control over our lives–remain faceless, nameless, unelected and unaccountable. They operate largely behind closed doors, issuing regulations and arranging sweetheart ‘sue-and-settle’ legal actions with radical environmentalist groups to advance ideological agendas, without regard for the impacts on our lives.”

Tellingly, on the same day the president gave his speech, CNNMoney.com published the results of a sobering survey conducted by Bankrate.com. It revealed that a whopping 76 percent of Americans are “living paycheck-to-paycheck.” Less than 25 percent of Americans have enough money saved to cover six months of expenses, 50 percent have a three month total, and 27 percent have no savings at all. “After paying debts and taking care of housing, car and child care-related expenses, the respondents said there just isn’t enough money left over for saving more,” the article reported.

That’s the real catastrophe most Americans face. Yet a president whose most recent pressing initiatives have included gun control, immigration reform and combatting global warming, not only remains willfully oblivious to that catastrophe, but bound and determined to exacerbate it.

In short, Obama is determined to destroy America in order to save it. Unfortunately, there is no “offset” for such unbridled hubris.

Sarah Palin to Bloomberg: Get Outa My Fridge

Sarah Palin WinkingAfter a New York state judge on Monday ruled that Mayor Michael Bloomberg could not ban the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 oz. at restaurants and other establishments, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tweeted a simple message to politicians like Bloomberg who favor a nanny state: “Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!”

Palin called the ruling a “victory” in New York City for “liberty-loving soda drinkers.”

Busting 5 Myths About the Minimum Wage

by Amy PayneMin Wage

When someone says “minimum wage,” what comes to mind?
Do you think of teenagers flipping burgers? Or a single parent trying to feed several kids?
While President Obama and other proponents of a higher minimum wage want you to visualize that single parent, the truth is that a burger-flipping teenager or college student with a part-time job paints a much more accurate picture of the minimum wage in America.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Today, Democrats in Congress are arguing that the President didn’t go far enough, proposing an increase to more than $10 an hour.
Minimum-wage increases reduce the number of entry-level minimum-wage jobs available—actually hurting many of the workers proponents want to help.
And who are these workers?
The President and others keep going back to five key myths about minimum-wage workers. Heritage labor expert James Sherk has already debunked them all.
Myth #1: Hordes of Minimum-Wage Workers
Very few Americans are actually working for the federal minimum wage—it’s just 2.9 percent of all workers in the United States.
In other words, 97 percent of American workers make more than minimum wage.
Myth #2: The “Working Poor” Getting By on Minimum Wage
More than half of minimum-wage workers are between the ages of 16 and 24. These young people tend to work part-time, and a majority of them are enrolled in school at the same time—so the after-school burger flipper or college student with a part-time job is the real deal. A hike in the minimum wage primarily raises pay for suburban teenagers, not the working poor.
In fact, America’s poor aren’t the “working poor” at all. Sherk explains that “Contrary to what many assume, low wages are not their primary problem, because most poor Americans do not work for the minimum wage. The problem is that most poor Americans do not work at all.” Cutting down the number of entry-level jobs by raising the minimum wage surely isn’t going to help these people who need jobs.
Myth #3: Minimum-Wage Workers Trapped in Poverty
The average family income of a minimum-wage worker is more than $53,000 a year. How is this possible at $7.25 an hour? Few workers with minimum-wage jobs are the primary earners in their families. This is also true of older minimum-wage earners. Three-fourths of workers 25 and older earning the minimum wage live above the poverty line. In fact, 62 percent have incomes over 150 percent of the poverty line.
Myth #4: Lifelong Minimum-Wage Earners
Minimum-wage earners don’t stay in those jobs forever. It’s easy to get the idea from politicians that “minimum-wage workers” are a permanent class of people. But in fact, two-thirds of minimum-wage workers earn a raise within a year. As they gain experience and employment skills, they become more productive and can command higher wages. Entry-level, minimum-wage jobs are the first rung on many workers’ career ladders.
Myth #5: More Single Parents on Minimum Wage
Very few single parents are working full-time in minimum-wage jobs. Unfortunately, politicians overuse that example. A greater proportion of employees in the overall workforce (5.6 percent) are single parents working full-time jobs, while for minimum-wage workers that proportion is 4 percent—because so many minimum-wage workers are secondary earners.
Don’t be fooled by the myths. A minimum wage increase will not reduce poverty. Instead, it will hurt many of the workers its proponents want to help. As James Sherk and Rudy Takala sum it up:
A higher minimum wage would help some workers, but few of them are poor. The larger effect is hurting the ability of potential workers living in poverty to get their foot in the door of employment. A minimum wage hike might help politicians win plaudits from the press, but it wouldn’t reduce poverty rates.
Read the Morning Bell and more every day en español at Heritage Libertad.
Quick Hits:
Paul Rosenzweig chronicles the rapidly growing threats in cyberspace in his new book, Cyber Warfare. He speaks at Heritage today at noon ET to explain the challenges facing our country. Watch it live.
Heavy snow is forecast for the East Coast tomorrow, prompting some to preemptively declare the storm “Snowquester.”
A bipartisan group of Senators has a new proposal that would “punish [gun] sellers who have a ‘reasonable cause to believe the firearm will be used in criminal activity,’” reports USA Today.
As Catholics worldwide prepare for the election of a new pope, check out some of the pope’s duties.
“Spending is the problem, which means cutting spending is the solution. It’s that simple,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) in response to new demands from President Obama and liberals to raise taxes.

Part 2 Protecting Against Mass Murder: A Workable Armed Security Plan

SchoolsThere are things that make schools particularly attractive targets for evil men or crazies who want to inflict harm on others or who want to hurt society: Schools contain large numbers of helpless children and a few adults who can pose no threat to an attacker; Being gun-free zones, schools guarantee that the will be no armed person in a school, with the possible exception of a school resource officer; and, once the slaughter starts, the attacker knows that it will take several minutes for the police to be called and to respond. The attacker also knows that if there is a single policeman assigned to the school, he could get rid of that threat to him by simply removing the officer or distracting him in some way; and even if the officer is not disabled the attacker would simply have to begin his attack in one of the more remote classrooms. For these reasons our children are like lambs in a slaughterhouse
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The only real protection against a terrorist (and no matter their motive, the people who stage these attacks are terrorists) is to have numerous people in all parts of the school who can be first responders to an attack. The outcome at Sandy Hook Elementary School would have been very different had the first teacher who confronted the attacker, and the Principle who confronted him had done so with a gun.
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Schools should be Attack Free Zones; meaning that if an unauthorized person enters a school they are considered a deadly threat and if they do not immediately surrender, they will be shot. This means that schools would have to have the ability to control all access to the school and to identify and control visitors or those on authorized business.
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The two most rational objections to arming school personnel are 1) that they would create a confusing battlefield for police who respond- it would become difficult for the officers to identify the perpetrators as opposed to the armed school personnel; and, 2) School personnel are not trained in the needed skills and procedures. I think there is some valid concern on both points. However, if the arming of school personnel is done properly both these points become moot.
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First the personnel would have to pass the normal gun ownership background checks, second, they would have to pass the concealed carry class, and third they would be required to be trained and sanctioned by the local police department, and would operate under direction of the police department as a reserve unit of the police. This takes away the concern about qualification.
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There are probably several employees at most schools who are already competent marksmen and trained in gun safety. There are likely military veterans or reservists, concealed carry permit holders, reserve officers, or shooting hobbyist on the school staff. These people would be the obvious first class of trainees. The goal would be to have most employees, including administrators, teachers, classified staff, custodians, and bus drivers qualified and armed. Since the reasons schools are such enticing targets for evil or crazy people is because they know they will easily be able to do great harm, having this type of reserve protection would take away that primary attraction as a target.
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The second valid concern is identification of school police reservists. First, since they are under the direction of the police, trained by them, and mingle face to face with officers they would be known by sight to the police. Second they would be provided with a recognizable police vest which they would don in the event of an attack anywhere on the school. The teachers in classrooms would lock down their classroom, direct the children to take cover, and then take a defensive position to stop the attacker from entering.
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Teachers involved in other activities with students would move them to designated safe areas and take up a defensive position to protect the children. Administrators and other non-teaching personnel would don their vests and move quickly to the trouble area, firing on an attacker at the moment they are encountered.
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The reserve officer school personnel would be organized into rank leadership based on competency and training and the senior officer (who might be a teacher or a janitor rather than an administrator) would assume command of the crises until a ranking police officer is on the scene.
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Chances are, that in most cases based on this scenario by the time police arrived all school reservists would be “in uniform”’ the threat would be neutralized, and all arms would be holstered, avoiding the chaos envisioned by detractors.
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Chances are good that this would prevent injury or loss of student life; or at the worst would limit the number of such casualties.
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I will cover reestablishing a healthy American gun culture in Part 3.

Protecting Against Mass Murder -Part 1

Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark

By James Gattuso and Diane Katz
Abstract: During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans. This is almost four times the number—and more than five times the cost—of the major regulations issued by George W. Bush during his first three years. Hundreds more regulations are winding through the rulemaking pipeline as a consequence of the Dodd–Frank financial-regulation law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming crusade, threatening to further weaken an anemic economy and job creation. Congress must increase scrutiny of regulations—existing and new. Reforms should include requiring congressional approval of major rules and mandatory sunset clauses for major regulations.
In January 2011, President Barack Obama announced, with much fanfare, a new get-tough policy on overregulation. Acknowledging that “rules have gotten out of balance” and “have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs,” he pledged a comprehensive review of regulations imposed by the federal government.[1] Despite this promise of restraint, however, the torrent of new rules and regulations from Washington continued throughout 2011, with 32 new major regulations.[2] These new rules increase regulatory costs by almost $10 billion annually along with another $6.6 billion in one-time implementation costs.
During the three years of the Obama Administration, a total of 106 new major regulations[3] have been imposed at a cost of more than $46 billion annually, and nearly $11 billion in one-time implementation costs. This amount is about five times the cost imposed by the prior Administration of George W. Bush.
This regulatory tide is not expected to ebb anytime soon. Hundreds of new regulations are winding through the rulemaking pipeline as a consequence of the vast Dodd–Frank financial-regulation law (the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), Obamacare, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s global warming crusade, threatening to further weaken an anemic economy and job creation.
Regulatory Burdens Harm Everyone
In much the same way that high taxes hamper investment and innovation, escalating regulatory costs undermine the American economy. Small businesses in particular are under siege. When surveyed in December 2011 about their single biggest problem by the National Federation of Independent Business, 19 percent of respondents cited “regulations and red tape,” up from 15 percent a year ago, and second only to “poor sales.”[4]
But regulations are not just a problem for entrepreneurs. American workers and their families have been hit hard by the persistent lack of job creation that results, in part, from regulatory excess. Meanwhile, regulatory costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices and limited product choices. For example, last year’s price controls on the fees that banks may charge to process debit-card transactions have prompted cancellation of customer rewards programs and free services, as well as higher fees on checking accounts and credit cards.[5]
Tracking the New Burdens . Neither Congress nor the Administration keeps tabs on the total number and cost of regulations. But by mining the Federal Register and various government databases, new regulations may be identified and regulatory costs calculated. During 2011, the Obama Administration completed a total of 3,611 rulemaking proceedings, according to the Federal Rules Database maintained by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), of which 79 were classified as “major,” meaning that each had an expected economic impact of at least $100 million per year.[6] Of those, 32 increased regulatory burdens (defined as imposing new limits or mandates on private-sector activity).[7] Just five major actions decreased regulatory burdens. The remainder of the rules adopted were non-regulatory in nature, such as those setting spending criteria for government programs.
Regulations adopted in 2011 cost Americans some $10 billion in new annual costs, according to estimates by the regulatory agencies.[8]
Overall, from the start of the Obama Administration to January 20, 2012, a total of 10,215 rulemaking proceedings were completed. Those included 244 rulemakings classified as “major,” of which 106 increased burdens on private-sector activity. Only 11 major rulemaking actions decreased regulatory burdens. The estimated cost of these new burdens tops $46 billion.[9]
Obama v. Bush. The total number of rulemaking proceedings during the first three years of the Obama Administration (10,215) is slightly less than the total undertaken during the first three years of the Bush Administration (10,674). This led President Obama to assert in his January 2012 State of the Union address that “I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.”[10] But looking only at the total number of rulemakings provides a misleading picture. While some have substantial impact, the vast majority of the thousands of rules adopted each year are routine actions, such as setting payment rates for Medicare or aviation maintenance bulletins.
It is also important to distinguish between rulemakings that increase regulatory burdens on businesses and individuals and those that do not. During the early 2000s, for example, the Federal Communications Commission adopted hundreds of rules related to freeing radio spectrum for commercial use, actions that generally eased government constraints on the private sector. Those rulemakings alone erase most of the gap in total rulemaking between Obama and Bush.
Taking these factors into account, a far clearer picture of relative regulatory activity emerges. According to Heritage Foundation calculations using the GAO database, the George W. Bush Administration adopted 28 major regulations in its first three years, barely a quarter of the 106 imposed by the Obama Administration during its first three years. In terms of cost, the gap was even wider, with the Bush Administration imposing $8.1 billion in new annual regulatory costs compared to the $46 billion imposed during the Obama years to date, a five-to-one ratio[11].
Excessive regulation, of course, cannot be blamed on the White House alone. A great many of the rules and regulations imposed each year are mandated by Congress, and many others are made possible by intentionally ambiguous statutory language. Others are promulgated by so-called independent agencies not subject to White House control (although they are run by presidential appointees). Regardless of responsibility, the result is the same: more burdens for Americans and the U.S. economy.
The New Regulations of 2011
The 32 regulations that increased regulatory burdens adopted by federal agencies in 2011 covered a broad range of activity, including energy standards for fluorescent ballasts, refrigerators, freezers, clothes dryers, and air conditioners; testing and labeling requirements for toys; limits on automotive emissions of “greenhouse gases”; employer requirements for posting federal labor rules; more explicit warnings for cigarette packaging; health plan eligibility standards under Obama’s health care legislation; expanded employment requirements for the disabled; and higher minimum wages for foreign workers.
The largest proportion of regulations by far stemmed from the 2010 Dodd–Frank financial-regulation statute, which was responsible for 12 major rules increasing burdens in 2011, including six from the Securities and Exchange Commission, five from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and one from the Federal Reserve. Hundreds more Dodd–Frank rules remain to be written.
The most expensive regulation of 2011 was imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which issued a total of five major regulations at a cost of more than $4 billion annually. Among the new regulations are three that impose stricter limits on industrial and commercial boilers and incinerators, at a total cost of $2.6 billion annually for compliance and $5.8 billion for one-time implementation costs. The EPA had postponed the new rules pending reconsideration by the agency and court review. However, in a legal challenge by environmental groups, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the agency’s administrative stay in January, making the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (the Boiler MACT) immediately enforceable (although EPA officials have stated that they would not enforce it while the agency modifies the regulation).[12]
In other court action, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has delayed implementation of more stringent limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants pending court review. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, issued in August, is estimated by the EPA to cost $810 million annually. The State of Texas challenged the rule, claiming that the EPA used faulty assumptions in devising the standards.[13]
More stringent energy conservation standards for refrigerators and freezers also rank among the most costly regulations of 2011. Imposed by the Department of Energy, the mandatory standards will increase regulatory costs by nearly $1.4 billion annually. Energy conservation standards for furnaces and air conditioners will cost an additional $650 million per year, while requirements for fluorescent ballasts will add $363 million more in costs annually.
Agencies Understate Costs. The actual cost of these new regulations is almost certainly higher than the totals reported here. This is largely because the agencies that perform the analyses have a natural incentive to minimize or obfuscate the costs of their own regulations. For some, costs are only partially quantified; for others, not quantified at all. But even quantified costs may often fail to capture the true impacts, as regulators cannot estimate intangibles, the costs of which could dwarf the direct compliance burden. Such undefined costs are inherent in many of the regulations adopted under Dodd–Frank. For instance, in the analysis for its rule providing for shareholder approval of executive compensation, the cost of holding a proxy vote is estimated, but the far larger cost is the risk of losing executive talent, a cost that is probably unquantifiable, but has very real impact. Other intangibles, such as the Fairness Doctrine’s infringement on free speech or loss of religious liberty associated with Obamacare insurance mandates, are even more difficult to quantify.
Moreover, some rules categorized as “non-major” by regulators are in fact quite substantial. For instance, last September, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted “net neutrality” rules, which impose broad restrictions on Internet service providers. These new rules, which have been vigorously debated for years, will have vast impact on how the Internet is managed, yet the FCC did not flag them as “major.”
In many cases, the quality of the cost analysis is substandard. In his final act last January as inspector general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), David Kotz bluntly criticized the SEC’s cost-benefit analyses as “ambiguous” and “internally inconsistent.”[14] In a case decided in 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit threw out the SEC’s regulation on proxy voting after concluding that
[T]he Commission inconsistently and opportunistically framed the costs and benefits of the rule; failed adequately to quantify the certain costs or to explain why those costs could not be quantified; neglected to support its predictive judgments; contradicted itself; and failed to respond to substantial problems raised by commenters.[15]
This is no small matter considering that the SEC issued 21 percent of the new major regulations in 2011 that increased burdens, and reported less than 1 percent of the costs.
The EPA is also notorious for understating costs. Last July, the agency finalized its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which imposed more stringent emissions limits on power plants in 27 states, estimating the cost at $800 million annually. A number of other sources—some tied to the affected industry, some not—forecast much worse impacts. According to the Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm that works with the electrical power industry, for instance, the costs of the regulation would total $120 billion by 2015.[16]
Similarly, the EPA pegged the costs of the Boiler MACT at $2.6 billion annually. The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners, on the other hand, estimates that the regulation will entail compliance costs of $14.5 billion.[17]
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) likewise minimized the cost of its new rule requiring additional notifications to employees about employment laws. The board contended that the regulation will impose a mere $64.40 per employer, on average, in the first year (for a national total of $386.4 million). An analysis by the law firm of Baker & McKenzie estimated that each private-sector employee will spend at least one hour in meetings related to the regulation, resulting in a productivity loss to the economy of $3.5 billion—almost 10 times the NLRB figure.[18]
Hundreds of New Rules Looming. Dozens more regulations were slated for 2011, but the Administration failed to meet statutory deadlines. According to business consultancy Davis Polk, 225 Dodd–Frank rulemaking deadlines have passed.[19] Of these, 164—more than seven of 10—have been missed. Regulators have not yet even released proposals for 24 of the 164 missed rules.
The most recent Unified Agenda (also known as the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda)—a bi-annual compendium of planned regulatory actions as reported by agencies lists 2,576 rules (proposed and final) in the pipeline. The largest proportion—505 rulemakings—is from the Treasury Department, the SEC, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission—all tasked with issuing hundreds of rules under the massive Dodd–Frank statute. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for 174 others, while 133 are from the Department of Health and Human Services, reflecting, in part, the regulatory requirements of Obamacare.
Of the 2,576 pending rulemakings in the fall 2011 agenda, 133 are classified as “economically significant.” With each of these expected to cost at least $100 million annually, they represent a total additional burden of at least $13.3 billion every year.
This continues the high levels of the Unified Agenda that started in the last two years of the Bush Administration. In the past decade, the number of economically significant rules in the agenda has increased by more than 137 percent, rising from 56 in spring 2001 to 133 in fall 2011.
Meanwhile, rulemaking related to Obama’s health care legislation encompasses more than 150 federal agencies, bureaus, and commissions. And, it appears that the rules are changing faster than regulators can write them. Administrators have granted nearly 2,000 waivers to the new health care regulations, for instance, while the long-term-care insurance plan called for in the legislation has been dropped as completely unworkable.
Rule Books Bulging. Other measures of regulatory activity have also shown an increase in recent years. One of the most commonly cited measures is the size of the Federal Register, the official daily chronicle of regulatory changes. Before any new rule can take effect, it must be published in the Federal Register. In 2009, the Federal Register was 68,598 pages long. In 2010, it expanded sharply to 81,405. In 2011, the number of pages hit 82,415, a new record.[20]
The Myth of Retrospective Review
In January 2011, responding to criticism that the nation’s regulatory burden had grown too onerous, and acknowledging the need to eliminate ineffective and harmful regulations, President Obama issued an executive order calling for an agency-by-agency “retrospective review” of regulations. On January 3, 2012, the Administration released progress reports from the agencies.[21]
The Administration claimed that its reforms would, if implemented, reduce regulatory costs by $10 billion per year. But little or none of this reduction has materialized. Of the four major actions in 2011 that reduced regulatory burdens, none were the product of the regulatory review initiative. Three—involving air cargo screening, family investment advisors, and debit-card price controls—were modifications of recently imposed regulatory burdens. The fourth, the exemption of milk from “oil spill” regulations, was highlighted in the President’s State of the Union speech as an example of the success of the review. In reality, it had been proposed by the EPA in January 2009, and put on hold when the Obama Administration came into office.
The Administration also claims a number of lesser successes, and many of these are dubious as well. The Department of Energy has listed the development of new energy standards for battery chargers as progress. Department officials say the new federal regulation would ease burdens by replacing state standards. However, it appears that California is the only state that has such a regulation.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency cites as progress its imposition of emissions rules in tandem with the fuel-efficiency standards from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is hard to argue that an additional $8.5 billion in new annual costs constitutes regulatory relief. But agency officials claim that the joint standards “will allow the auto manufacturers to more efficiently produce one vehicle fleet to meet the requirements of the National Program.” In fact, there have never been two different federal rules, so one new one hardly counts as progress.
Many of the claimed reforms are the low-hanging fruit of regulatory excesses that should have been picked long ago. The Department of Transportation only agreed to reform its mandates on anti-collision systems after the railroad industry sued over the issue more than a year ago. The FCC’s official repeal of the Fairness Doctrine cleared the books of a rule that has not been enforced since the late 1980s.
Steps for Congress
Additional congressional oversight is necessary to protect Americans and the economy from runaway regulation. Congress should take steps to increase scrutiny of new and existing regulations to ensure that each is necessary, and that costs are minimized, including:
Require congressional approval of new major regulations promulgated by agencies. Under the 1996 Congressional Review Act, Congress has the means to veto new regulations. To date, that authority has been used successfully only once, in 1993, on a Department of Labor rule imposing ergonomics standards. The review process would be strengthened by requiring congressional approval before any major regulation takes effect, as called for under the proposed REINS Act, approved by the House late last year (H.R. 10), and a companion bill by the same name (S. 299), which is pending in committee. Such a system would ensure a congressional check on regulators, as well as ensure the accountability of Congress itself.[22]
Establish a Congressional Office of Regulatory Analysis. While Congress receives detailed information from the Congressional Budget Office on the state of the budget and on proposals that would affect the budget, it has no independent source of information on regulatory costs. A non-partisan Congressional Office of Regulatory Analysis would help to fill this gap. Such an office could review the impact of legislative proposals, as well as analyze the cost and effectiveness of regulations adopted by agencies. In this way, a congressional regulation office would act as both a complement and counterweight to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs..[23]

The cost of such an office would be minimal, and would pay for itself even if it only reduced the cost of new regulation by 0.5 percent each year.[24] To ensure that it would not increase federal expenditures, it should be paid for through a 0.1 percent reduction in the $50 billion budgeted each year for regulatory agencies.[25]
Establish a sunset date for federal regulations. While every new regulation promulgated by executive branch agencies undergoes a detailed review, there is no similar process for reviewing the need for regulations already on the books. Old regulations tend to be left in place, even when they are no longer useful.

This tendency can be particularly harmful when, as now, there is a flood of new and untested regulations. To ensure that substantive review occurs, regulations should automatically expire if they are not explicitly reaffirmed by the agency through a notice and comment rulemaking. As with any such regulatory decision, this reaffirmation would be subject to review by the courts. Sunset clauses already exist for some new regulations. Regulators, and if necessary, Congress, should make them the rule, not the exception.[26]
Conclusion
Despite the weak economy, the Obama Administration continued to increase the regulatory burden on Americans in 2011, adding 32 major regulations that increase regulatory burdens, almost $10 billion in annual costs, and $6.6 billion in one-time implementation costs. From the beginning of the Obama Administration through 2011, a staggering 106 major regulations that increase regulatory burdens have been issued, with costs exceeding $46 billion. While the President has acknowledged the need to rein in regulation, the steps taken to date have been meager.
The President cannot have it both ways—having identified overregulation as a problem, he must take real and significant steps to rein it in. At the same time, Congress—which shares much of the blame for excessive regulation—must establish critical mechanisms to ensure that unnecessary and excessively costly regulations are not imposed on the U.S. economy and Americans. Without decisive steps, the costs of red tape will continue to grow, and the economy—and average Americans—will be the victims.[27]
—James L. Gattuso is Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy, and Diane Katz is Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy, in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Intern Mary Bidgood greatly assisted in the preparation of this report.
Appendix A
Methodology
Data on the number and cost of regulations are based on rules reported to Congress by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) pursuant to the Congressional Review Act of 1996 and available from the GAO’s Federal Rules Database (http://www.gao.gov/legal/congressact/fedrule.html). Rules included are those categorized as “major.” All such rules appearing in the database as of February 29, 2012, are included. Rules adopted before that date, but not yet posted in the GAO database, are not included.
Rules that do not limit activity or mandate activity by the private sector were excluded from the totals provided. Thus, for instance, budgetary rules that set reimbursement rates for Medicaid or conditions for receipt of agricultural subsidies are excluded.
The GAO database includes rulemakings from all agencies, including independent agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are not required to submit analyses to the Office of Management and Budget for review. If an agency did not prepare an analysis, or did not quantify costs, no amount was included, although the rule was included in the count of major regulations.
Cost figures are based on Regulatory Impact Analyses conducted by agencies issuing each rule. The agencies’ totals were then adjusted to constant 2010 dollars using the GDP deflator at Areppim’s “Current to Real Dollars Converter” (http://stats.areppim.com/calc/calc_usdlrxdeflator.php). Adjustments for rules adopted in 2009 and 2010 were made in July 2011; all others were made in February 2012, which result in slight variances due to changes in GDP estimates.
Where applicable, a 7 percent discount rate was used. Where a range of values was given by an agency, costs were based on the most likely scenario if so indicated by the agency; otherwise the mid-point value was used. The date of a rule was based, for classification purposes, on the date of publication in the Federal Register. Rules were attributed to particular Administrations based on the Federal Register publication date.
As this study focuses on the cost of major regulations, rather than the cost-benefit trade-off, no benefits or “negative costs” were included. We believe that an awareness of the total costs of regulation being imposed is itself a critical factor in regulatory analysis, in the same way that accounting for federal spending is a critical factor in expenditure analysis. Inclusion of a regulation in our totals, however, is not meant to indicate that it is unjustified. For actions reducing regulatory burdens, we used estimates provided by agencies that described the savings to consumers or society from the action.
Appendix B
Major Rules Increasing Private-Sector Burdens
January 1, 2011–January 20, 2012
(All figures in constant 2010 dollars)
January 19, 2011: Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor, “Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-agricultural Employment H-2B Program.” Increased minimum-wage rates for foreign workers employed under the H-2B visa program. The final rule was strongly opposed by employers. In a letter to the Department of Labor, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote: “There is nothing in the content of the Final Rule that in any way assists…employers to expand their business and increase hiring. In fact, the effect of the Final Rule is exactly the opposite and will dramatically drive up costs for…employers, in many cases by more than 50%, which will end up destroying jobs for U.S. workers.”[28]

Annual Cost: $847.4 million
January 19, 2011: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Ejection Mitigation.” Required modification of air bags and window design to reduce the possibility of vehicle occupants being ejected in a crash. New standards will increase the average sticker price of cars and light trucks by $53 to $200.

Annual Cost: $511.8 million
January 25, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Issuer Review of Assets in Offerings of Asset-Backed Securities.” Implemented a provision of Dodd–Frank requiring issuers who register the offer and sale of an asset-backed security (ABS) to review the assets underlying the ABS. Critics argued that the new rule will “only cause the market to seize up further, rather than get credit flowing again as intended.”[29]

(Note: The SEC’s cost figure only represents the cost of “outside” professional help, and not the estimated 286,016 additional work hours necessary to comply, or three-quarters of the total “internal” work required).
Annual Cost: $8.4 million
January 26, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Disclosure for Asset-Backed Securities Required by Section 943 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.” Required securitizers of asset-backed securities to disclose fulfilled and unfulfilled repurchase requests. Adopted concurrently with the asset-backed security rule above.
Annual Cost: $2.2 million
Initial Cost: $23 million
February 2, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Shareholder Approval of Executive Compensation and Golden Parachute Compensation.” Implemented section 951 of Dodd–Frank requiring companies to conduct a separate shareholder advisory vote to approve executive compensation. Many predict that such requirements will make it more difficult for U.S. companies to recruit and retain executives.
Annual Cost: $7.8 million
March 21, 2011: Environmental Protection Agency, “Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources and Emission Guidelines for Existing Sources: Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration Units.” Established new standards of performance and emission limits for solid waste incinerators. A petition to stay the rule by a number of industry associations noted “substantial uncertainty as to the applicability of the final rules”; “key elements…not supported by the underlying data”; and “several of the emissions standards are so stringent that companies predict that no viable means of complying with them will be devised.”[30]
Annual Cost: $286.2 million
Initial Cost: $721.7 million
March 21, 2011: Environmental Protection Agency, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters.” Established new emissions standards for hundreds of thousands of commercial, institutional, and industrial boilers. The Council of Industrial Boiler Owners pegged the total cost of the regulation at $14.5 billion. The U.S. Small Business Administration warned that the rules would cause “significant new regulatory costs” for businesses, institutions, and municipalities across the country. A Commerce Department analysis reportedly concluded that the rules as originally configured would cause job losses of 40,000 to 60,000—much greater than the EPA had claimed.[31]
Annual Cost: $1.8 billion
Initial Cost: $5.2 billion
March 21, 2011: Environmental Protection Agency, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers.” Same as above, but for smaller facilities.
Annual Cost: $546.9 million
March 25, 2011: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Regulations to Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans with Disability Act, As Amended.” Expanded the definition of the term ‘‘disability,” and delineated the extra accommodations that employers must provide to disabled employees and customers. Critics note that the commission, for the first time, listed specific medical conditions that will “virtually always” count as covered impairments, thereby unilaterally categorizing tens of millions of Americans as disabled. Moreover, the new regulation treats any impairment—no matter how brief in duration—as a covered disability. Employment attorneys say the changes will burden employers with compliance challenges as well as with litigation that will inevitably follow the EEOC’s expansive approach.[32]
Annual Cost: $121.5 million
April 21, 2011: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Clothes Dryers and Room Air Conditioners.” Increased energy conservation standards for residential clothes dryers and room air conditioners. Will raise the cost of home appliances.
Annual Cost: $161.8 million
April 25, 2011: Federal Reserve Board, “Truth in Lending.” Instituted a higher APR threshold for determining whether “jumbo” mortgage loans secured by a first lien on a consumer’s principal dwelling are higher-priced mortgage loans for which an escrow account must be established. According to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, “These burdensome changes may lead to small entities leaving the mortgage industry which could have a negative impact on the availability of mortgages, competition and the consumer.”[33]
Annual Cost: No estimate provided by the Federal Reserve Board.
June 3, 2011: Office of the Secretary, Department of the Treasury, “Regulations Governing Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service.” Required IRS certification of tax preparers.
Annual Cost: $47.5 million
June 22, 2011: Department of Health and Human Services, “Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements.” Required stark illustrations of smoking risks to be displayed on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements. However, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in February that the mandate violates the First Amendment, finding that the required images constitute direct advocacy to not buy the product rather than warnings that inform consumers about the effects of smoking.[34]
Annual Cost: None
Initial Cost: $342.7 million
June 27, 2011: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy, “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces and Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps.” Set more stringent efficiency standards for home heating and cooling appliances. The regulation is expected to drive up the price of heating and air conditioning equipment. Although the Energy Department claims that these costs will be offset by lower utility bills, others disagree. According to the Air Conditioning Contractors Association, “DOE has created a new regulatory scheme that is ripe for abuse without fully considering the costs of compliance or the exposure to problems.”[35]
Annual Cost: $657.5 million
June 30, 2011: Department of Housing and Urban Development, “SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act: Minimum Licensing Standards and Oversight Responsibilities.” Set minimum standards for state licensing and registration of residential mortgage loan originators and requirements for operating the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.
Annual Cost: $377.1 million (Cost estimate assumes no state regulation; the incremental cost will be lower for companies operating under state regulation. The full amount is counted here because the regulation establishes a cost floor).
July 8, 2011: Department of Health and Human Services, “Administrative Simplification: Adoption of Operating Rules for Eligibility for a Health Plan and Health Care Claim Status Transactions.” As required by Obamacare, established operating standards for the health care industry to facilitate electronic transactions.
Annual Cost: $547.5 million
July 19, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Rules Implementing Amendments to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.” As called for under Dodd–Frank, expanded the registration threshold for investment advisers, required advisers to hedge funds, and increased reporting requirements for investment advisers.
Annual Cost: $0.9 million
Initial Cost: $49.1 million
July 20, 2011: Federal Reserve Board, “Debit Card Interchange Fees and Routing.” Imposed price controls on the fees banks may charge to process debit-card transactions, as authorized under Dodd–Frank. Banking industry claims that losses of $6.6 billion annually will force cancellation of rewards programs, higher fees on checking accounts, and annual fees for credit cards.[36]
Annual Cost: No estimate provided by the Federal Reserve Board.
August 3, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Large Trader Reporting.” Required large traders to register with the SEC, and to comply with new reporting and record-keeping requirements. Aimed at preventing “flash crashes” of the stock markets, such as that occurring in May 2010. There was “significant opposition” to this rule, based on the cost and the effect on foreign competition.[37]
Annual Cost: $18 million
Initial Cost: $37 million
August 8, 2011: Environmental Protection Agency, “Federal Implementation Plans: Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone and Correction of SIP Approvals.” Mandated 27 eastern, midwestern, and southern states to achieve more stringent emissions reductions from power plants. The rule has been challenged by Texas as threatening the reliability of the electrical supply.
Annual Cost: $846.3 million
August 30, 2011: National Labor Relations Board, “Notification of Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA].” Required employers to post notices informing employees of their rights under the NLRA, and established the size, form, and content of the notice. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit alleging that the regulation violates federal labor and regulatory laws, as well as the First Amendment.[38]
Annual Cost: No estimate provided by the NLRB.
Initial Cost: $378.4 million
September 1, 2011: Commodity Futures Trading Commission, “Swap Data Repositories: Registration Standards, Duties and Core Principles.” Established registration requirements and other obligations for registered swap data repositories, as called for under Dodd–Frank.
Annual Cost: $60.8 million (This figure reflects only partial costs. Commission officials say they are unable to estimate the cost accurately “given existing technologies, the current state of the swaps market and the potential growth in the future.”)
Initial Cost: $118 million
September 15, 2011: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles.” Set fuel-efficiency and emissions standards for combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles. The regulation is expected to drive up prices for trucks by as much as $6,000, with the added burden falling heavily on small, independent owner-operators.[39]
Annual Cost: $606.9 million
September 15, 2011: Department of Energy, “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers.” Set more stringent energy-efficiency standards for appliances. The Department of Energy claims that the greater efficiency will save consumers money. But critics say the added costs may dissuade consumers from purchasing new appliances, and that it is not the proper role of government to dictate supposed energy savings for consumers that consumers do not bother to capture themselves.[40]
Annual Cost: $1.4 billion
November 8, 2011: Commodity Futures Trading Commission, “Derivatives Clearing Organization General Provisions and Core Principles.” Among other things, established regulatory standards for financial resources; participant and product eligibility; risk management; settlement procedures; treatment of funds; default rules and procedures; rule enforcement; system safeguards; reporting; recordkeeping; public information; information sharing; antitrust considerations; and legal risk.
Annual Cost: $5.7 million (This figure reflects only reporting costs. No other cost estimate provided by the commission.)
November 8, 2011: Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Testing and Labeling Pertaining to Product Certification.” Established standards for certification, testing, and labeling of children’s products.
Annual Cost: $192.9 million (This figure refers only to “record-keeping.” The actual testing costs are estimated as $4.7 million per year for each large manufacturer; $467,015 per year for each small manufacturer; and $6,222 per year for a small-batch manufacturer.)
November 14, 2011: Department of Energy, “Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts.” Established energy-efficiency standards and testing and labeling requirements for fluorescent lamp ballasts. As with other energy conservation standards, critics contend that the touted energy savings are overly optimistic and that it is not the proper role of government to dictate energy savings for consumers.
Annual Cost: $363 million
November 16, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Reporting by Investment Advisers to Private Funds and Certain Commodity Pool Operators and Commodity Trading Advisors on Form PF.” Required investment advisers registered with the SEC that advise one or more funds and have at least $150 million in private-fund assets under management to comply with filing and record-keeping requirements.
Annual Cost: $59.3 million
Initial Cost: $58.8 million
November 18, 2011: Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), “Position Limits for Futures and Swaps.” Under Dodd–Frank, established federal position limits and limit formulas for 28 physical commodity futures and option contracts and physical commodity swaps that are economically equivalent to such contracts. This regulation was intended to stop excessive speculation in futures markets, but critics question whether speculation is a problem. According to Democratic CFTC member Michael Dunn, the regulation “may actually make it more difficult for farmers, producers and manufacturers to hedge the risks they take in order to provide the public with milk, bread and gas.”[41]
Annual Cost: $96.4 million
Initial Cost: $4.1 million
December 19, 2011: Commodity Futures Trading Commission, “Investment of Customer Funds and Funds Held in an Account for Foreign Futures and Foreign Options Transactions.” Amended CFTC regulations on investment of customer-segregated funds and others related to permitted investments, liquidity requirements, removal of rating requirements, and expansion of concentration limits.
Annual Cost: No estimate provided by the CFTC.
December 27, 2011: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, “Hours of Service of Drivers.” Revised the hours of service regulations to limit the use of the 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours, and required that anyone using the 34-hour restart provision have as part of the restart two periods that include 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The American Trucking Associations has filed suit in federal court to overturn the rule, arguing that even [the DOT’s] “own analyses show that even when they overstate the safety benefits of these changes, the costs created by their rule still outweigh those benefits.”[42]
Annual Cost: $470 million
December 29, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Net Worth Standard for Accredited Investors.” As required by Dodd–Frank, amended the accredited investor standards to define “accredited investor” to exclude the value of a person’s primary residence on the basis of having a net worth in excess of $1 million. Other technical amendments.
Annual Cost: No estimate provided by the SEC.
January 9, 2012: Commodity Futures Trading Commission, “Real-Time Public Reporting of Swap Transaction Data.” As required by Dodd–Frank, established standards and requirements for real-time reporting and public availability of swap transaction and pricing data.
Annual Cost: No figures provided by the CFTC
January 10, 2012: Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, “Administrative Simplification: Adoption of Standards for Health Care Electronic Funds Transfers and Remittance Advice.” As required by President Obama’s health care legislation, established adoption of standards for electronic funds transfers.
Annual Cost: $33 million
January 13, 2012: Commodity Futures Trading Commission, “Swap Data Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements.” As called for under Dodd–Frank, the rule instituted recordkeeping and reporting requirements for swap data repositories, derivatives-clearing organizations, designated contract markets, swap execution facilities, swap dealers, major swap participants, and swap counterparties who are neither swap dealers nor major swap participants.
Annual Cost: $1.1 billion
Initial Cost: $2.5 billion
Major Rules Decreasing Regulatory Burdens on the Private Sector
January 1, 2011–January 20, 2012
(All figures in constant 2010 dollars)
April 18, 2011: Environmental Protection Agency, “Oil Pollution Prevention; Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule—Amendments for Milk and Milk Product Containers.” Exempted all milk and milk product containers and associated piping and appurtenances from spill prevention and control requirements.
Annual Savings: $147.68 million
June 29, 2011: Securities and Exchange Commission, “Family Offices.” Under Dodd–Frank, excluded family offices from definition of investment advisers and redefined family offices for the purposes of that exclusion.
Annual Savings: No figures provided by the SEC.
July 20, 2011: Federal Reserve Board, “Debit Card Interchange Fees and Routing.” Allowed a debit-card issuer to receive an adjustment of 1 cent to its interchange transaction fee if the issuer develops, implements, and updates policies and procedures to identify and prevent fraudulent electronic debit transactions. Adopted concurrently with underlying price control rules on interchange fees.
Annual Savings: No figures provided by the Federal Reserve Board.
August 18, 2011: Department of Homeland Security, “Air Cargo Screening.” Removed third-party validations of cargo screening programs in favor of TSA conducting all assessments for cargo-screening certification.
Annual Savings: $68.65 million
October 25, 2011: Department of Labor, “Investment Advice—Participants and Beneficiaries.” Largely confirmed exemption to limits on the provision of investment advice to participants and beneficiaries in individual accounts, such as 401(k) plans.
Annual Savings: None

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