Excessive regulations are stunting our job growth

It is past time for Washington to get out of the way of American ingenuity and focus its efforts on growing our economy and creating jobs. Our country has been plagued by sluggish job growth, higher healthcare costs and an out-of-control administration that has interfered with almost every aspect of the American way of life.

Hardworking Americans have been forced to pick up the tab in the form of costly regulations now totaling more than $1.8 trillion per year, and they are tired of the direction our nation is taking. The American people want a Washington that works for them and puts their priorities first, and it is our obligation to listen.

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As the congressman for Ohio’s 5th Congressional District, I am fortunate to represent one of the largest agricultural districts in the state, as well as more than 60,000 manufacturers. While these industries may be diverse, their primary obstacle to hiring is the same: over-burdensome regulations and excessive compliance costs. Our job creators should not be forced to choose between staying in business or remaining in compliance. They should be focused on how to grow their businesses and hire more people.

However, at the end of last year, the administration had nearly 4,000 new regulations pending, with almost 200 of these considered economically significant, meaning they would each carry a cost of at least $100 million a year.

Regulatory uncertainty — both now and in the future — continues to stagnate wages and prevents many of our businesses, small and large, from hiring. Government expansion, especially in healthcare and energy, has also come to define this administration. The United States is the land of opportunity, but the growing costs to live, let alone run a business, are making the American dream unattainable and limiting our success. With the regulatory cost per household totaling nearly $15,000 per year, or 23 percent of the national average family income, federal regulations are squeezing American families’ already limited wallets and curbing our nation’s prosperity.

Under ObamaCare alone, more than $40 billion in regulatory costs have already been forced on American taxpayers, with individuals and small businesses feeling the greatest burden. Higher premiums, lost healthcare coverage and the part-timing of our nation’s workforce are all direct consequences resulting from these stifling regulations.

The House has taken a number of steps to curb these negative impacts, including H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, which would protect jobs and ensure workers are not pushed to part-time as employers determine how to pay for the significant cost increases of providing healthcare coverage under ObamaCare.

However, the Senate and the president have failed to act on this legislation, leaving individuals and small-business owners to navigate the obstacles of this poorly thought-out law.

In addition, while our country is on the cusp of an energy boom, the president is continuing to wage a war on American energy expansion, threatening national security and stifling our economy. Over the past four years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed or finalized more than 100 new greenhouse gas-related regulations carrying billions of dollars in current and future compliance costs across the U.S. energy, manufacturing and transportation sectors. The EPA’s expensive proposal for new power plants, and proposals for existing power plants, would be especially harmful throughout Ohio, where more than 70 percent of power comes from coal. These and other rules would not only result in higher energy costs for consumers but would also threaten hundreds of jobs in Ohio, where EPA rules are already contributing to the shutdown or conversion of 41 coal units. Additional closures may also be triggered by the agency’s most recent proposal for existing plants.

Our government’s policies do not make day-to-day life easier for the American people. They do not reflect the realities of global competition and they fail to foster growth and innovation at home. Washington must change the way it does business, as our nation will not grow and thrive if this regulatory, oppressive administration continues to wield its pen without considering the economic costs that will result. We have an opportunity to work together to promote real solutions that put our economy and job creation at the forefront of every decision, and we must, without hesitation, take it.

Latta has represented Ohio’s 5th Congressional District since 2007. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee.