One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
- 5G Wireless Makes Net Neutrality Even Dumber Policy - September 16, 2019
- When Deregulation – Actually Makes Things Worse - August 29, 2019
- Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy - July 17, 2019
A recurring headline in the Age of President Barack Obama begins with things like “Obama Administration Issues New Rules…” and “Administration Targets…” and various variations on this theme. To wit:
The rolling tally – and the damage done – is devastating:
- The federal regulatory cost reached $1.885 trillion in 2015.
- Federal regulation is a hidden tax that amounts to nearly $15,000 per U.S. household each year.
- Many Americans complain about taxes, but regulatory compliance costs exceed the $1.82 trillion that the IRS is expected to collect in both individual and corporate income taxes from 2015.
And it is inordinately difficult to argue that Obama’s isn’t the Regulation Administration:
- Some 60 federal departments, agencies, and commissions have 3,297 regulations in development at various stages in the pipeline.
- The 2015 Federal Register contains 80,260 pages, the third highest page count in its history.
- Of the seven all-time-highest Federal Register total page counts, six occurred under President Obama.
- …(T)he Obama administration has averaged 81 major regulations annually over seven years.
- In 2015, 114 laws were enacted by Congress during the calendar year, while 3,410 rules were issued by agencies. Thus, 30 rules were issued for every law enacted last year.
That last point is vitally important. Many (most) of these new regulations – are unlawful and unconstitutional. The Obama Administration is the Executive Branch. It executes laws – it does not write them. That’s Congress’ (the Legislative Branch)’s job. Issuing regulations untethered to preceding legislation – is violating the rules. As per usual, the Republican-led Congress is doing far too little to defend its Constitutional turf and rein in the Administration. And far, far too infrequently, this happens:
Far, far too frequently – Obama’s myriad fiats stand. The rolling tally – and the damage done – is devastating.
Productivity Growth of U.S. Economy Collapses to Record Low: “U.S. productivity growth, the greatest determinant of living standards, has been lower for the past five years than any five-year period on record. New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that productivity growth has averaged 0.4% per year over the past half-decade. This is 82% below the average of the prior six decades, which is as far back as this data extends.”
Obama is First President Ever to Not See Single Year of 3% GDP Growth: “The rate of real economic growth is the single greatest determinate of both America’s strength as a nation and the well-being of the American people….Ronald Reagan brought forth an annual real GDP growth of 3.5%. Barack Obama will be lucky to average a 1.55% GDP growth rate.”
Ingrained decades of over-regulation lead to things like this:
Sounds great, right? Except:
“The euro zone’s dominant economy grew 0.7 percent, its strongest quarterly rate since an identical reading in the first quarter of 2014….”
Wow. 0.7% growth. Dominating all of the Euro Zone. Let us please not be (even) more like Europe, eh?
So when our domestic Sauron turns its Eye on the Technology Sector – we get worried. The guilty over-extended arm of the Leviathan here – is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
As per usual, the Republican-led Congress is doing far too little to defend its Constitutional turf and rein in the FCC. So that means the conga-line-to-the-courthouse will get even longer.
And what’s happening to the economics of the Tech Sector?
Capital Expenditures Declined Under FCC’s Network Neutrality Rules: “A casual reader of the Federal Communications Commission’s many documents on network neutrality would reasonably conclude that the network neutrality rules are necessary for robust investment in the broader information sector. The linkage between FCC rules and investments animates the FCC’s recent court brief in which the agency defends its latest rules in the D.C. Circuit Court.
“The empirical economics, however, are the opposite of the FCC storyline. Capital expenditures grew less rapidly when network neutrality rules were in place.”
So the government claimed their new regulations would help the economy. They then imposed them – and Reality rudely intervened. I believe this has happened before.
Reality is a harsh mistress – when you’re wedded to big government.
As we see in every other sector of our economy (and everyone else’s) – more government means less private sector economy. The former crowds out the latter. Each and every time it’s tried.
The Tech Sector has been Obama’s anemic economy’s one saving grace. So his Administration has in its last years dramatically ramped up its Tech Sector assault.
Because no inkling of positive economic activity can be allowed to stand. It makes everyone and everything else look bad.
With all of human history as a guide – sadly, big government will be just as squashing-ly successful here as it has been everywhere else.