Small business group takes aim at ‘out-of-touch’ regulators

About two-thirds of people in the United States say the Obama administration's regulations are created by "out-of-touch" officials who do not consider the "real-world impact" of their rules, a new survey from a business group found.

The Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS), launched earlier this month by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), put forward the findings Thursday at the "Regulated State of the Union," where the group argued regulations are slowing economic growth and harming small businesses.

"They just don't feel like Washington's listening to them," said Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

The CRS study interviewed 1,000 people, including 47 percent who identified as independents, 27 percent Democrats, and 22 percent Republicans.

It found 41 percent of Americans would prefer regulations be handed down by local governments, whereas only 17 percent preferred that the federal government take the lead.

"The bulk of the lawmaking in this administration is being done by unelected regulators," said Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who also spoke at the conference.

In a separate study he conducted, Crews, the author of "Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State," found the government issued 56 regulations for every law that was passed last year.

"I think it's extremely important for policymakers to take a look at the costs," Crews said.

The study also found that 72 percent of people think regulations are created in secret.

"Normally, the regulatory costs are hidden from the consumers," said Raymond Keating, chief economist at the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, who spoke at the conference.

Keating said consumers could easily figure out how much they pay in sales tax by checking their receipts, or income tax by checking their pay stubs. But the cost of regulations is not so visible, because consumers pay it indirectly through the toll it takes on the economy, he argued.

But the business community is much more aware of the regulatory costs they face, he said.

"If you talk to any small business owner, they'll tell you that regulatory costs are just as burdensome as the tax bill they pay," Keating said.