The Stiletto Heel Of Regulation: Why American Business Can’t Back Hillary

Eliot Bakker Freelance Writer
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‘There’s not much debate over the contention that Donald Trump isn’t the best candidate the Republican Party has ever put forward. As much bluff and bluster as his dyed-in-the-wool supporters put forward about his supposed qualifications to lead our country away from the precipice, the argument inevitably runs back to the same root – Donald Trump is superior to Hillary Clinton. Trump is the first presidential nominee from either of the two main parties with no government experience since the Republicans nominated Wendell Willkie to face Franklin Roosevelt in 1940. And, to a great extent, this has been a significant handicap for The Donald. His debate performance on September 26 exposed that flaw, as he came off brash and unpolished before a national audience. But, as bad as Donald Trump’s performance was in that debate, one thrust successfully struck home: Hillary Clinton would tax and regulate American businesses into oblivion.

Clinton, who has already gone on record as chomping at the bit to ratchet up the federal regulatory regime, would without a doubt continue down the same road to perdition that the current administration has rushed heedlessly down. With such a past acting as a prologue, the American businessman has a balloon in regulatory growth to look forward to like the one he endured in 2014. According to a study, President Obama signed over two hundred new laws, and federal agencies under his control issued over 3,500 new regulations. Compliance with these new laws and regulations cost American businesses $1.88 trillion. As such costs are invariably passed on to the consumer, the average American household ends up paying almost $15,000 more in hidden regulatory taxes, which is more than most households spend on any one expense. Bear in mind, this is on top of existing costs of compliance – a recent estimate found that businesses with fifty or fewer employees pay a cost of about $11,000 per employee per year to comply with regulations already on the books. This burden is even more crushing for the “small guy” whose costs are up to one third higher than that paid by bigger firms.

Though small businesses will certainly have a difficult row to hoe in the event of a Clinton regime, the coal industry’s fate will be all but sealed should she come to power. The death warrant spilled from her own mouth in March when she said that she will “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” We already know the executioner’s choice of weapon – federal regulation. The wheels are already in motion on that front, as the EPA is fighting a pitched battle in court against twenty-seven mostly coal-producing states to keep the dictates on carbon levels for power plants handed down by the agency in place. The states have a compelling argument, namely that the executive branch, embodied by the EPA, is doing an end-run around Congress by carrying out a legislative function and thus violating the doctrine of separation of powers. However, compelling constitutional arguments do not always sway appellate judges nestled deep in the bureaucracy. When the case was recently heard in the DC Court of Appeals, judges seemed more than comfortable pushing the coal industry’s head underwater further still. Claiming a power-sector shift and noting that the regulatory overburdened sector is already in decline (shocking!), the judges argued that a little cut to a gaping wound wouldn’t be a big deal at all. Of course, such cuts won’t be felt by those inflicting them. The “coal people” of West Virginia will be feeling such cuts, at least to the extent that there are any left – as Trump pointed out last August, 200,000 have lost their jobs in recent years.

The coal sector is not the only potential target in a Hillary administration. Agriculture has been fighting a rising tide of red tape from the Obama White House, and Hillary is an unabashed supporter of inflicting further crippling regulation upon America’s farms. If she takes control of the executive branch, there is little doubt federal agencies will continue to use junk science to justify caving into the destructive influence of the United Nations and environmental activists.

Late last month, the EPA was called to the carpet by Congress for withdrawing a report initially marked “final” that had declared the popular herbicide glyphosate not to be a carcinogen. Some accused the EPA of succumbing to activist forces that used the conclusions of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to sow fears over the product.  IARC is a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO) that receives funding from the NIH to (among other) to essentially declare that whatever substance it reviews causes cancer. Of the nearly one thousand substances it has “investigated,” a grand total of one was declared to “probably not” cause cancer. Unsurprisingly, IARC managed to find that glyphosate, most commonly known as the main ingredient in “Roundup,” is a carcinogen. Banning glyphosate is but a minor inconvenience to homeowners seeking to keep a weed-free suburban lawn, but for farmers the loss of access to the weed killer is devastating. It’s no wonder that the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), is now trying to find out exactly why the current administration is funding IARC to the tune of $1.2 million this year. Although the deadline for answering the request is just a few days away, this is one small battle in a much larger war against agriculture that many farmers rightly fear Congress lacks the attention span to fight.

Democrats have long fancied themselves as allies of the “workin’ man,” and, for many years that has been true. However, the landscape in 2016 is significantly changed from years past, and Hillary and her co-conspirators are navigating it with an outdated map. The specifics Hillary has outlined to date consist of various ways to throw other people’s money at structural problems with one hand while holding the regulatory scourge in the other. That approach simply will not work, and it isn’t even good enough to fool some of the people, some of the time anymore. For his myriad of faults, Trump has a razor-sharp understanding of the millstone that government regulation is around the neck of business owners and farmers alike who are struggling to tread water even without such an onerous burden. America has suffered under excessive regulation for the lion’s share of a decade now – it is time to choose a leader who will reduce the crushing burden on American business.