20110119 ohare airport american 35
Passengers stand at the ticket counter inside the American Airlines terminal the day before Thanksgiving at O'Hare International Airport November 25, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. According to AAA, 38.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home over the holiday weekend, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. The number of people traveling by car is expected to increase by 2.1 percent while the number of fliers is projected to drop 6.7 percent. - 

Jeremy Hobson: The White House will unveil plans today to cut hundreds of federal regulations for businesses. According to an op-ed by an Obama administration official in this morning's Wall Street Journal, the White House will eliminate rules in hopes of saving companies billions of dollars over the next five years.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer is with us live now from Washington with more on this. Good morning.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Hey Jeremy.

Hobson: So Nancy, give us some details here. What kind of regulations are we talking about?

Marshall-Genzer: Jeremy, they cover everything from rail safety to gas tanks. Now, some of these regulations are obviously redundant and unnecessary. There's a rule that gas stations have to install valves on pumps to keep gas vapors from escaping when you're pumping gas, even though there's already technology on cars that does exactly the same thing. The Transportation Department will now only apply certain railroad safety rules where they're actually needed -- the White House says that'll save up to $340 million. The Department of Homeland Security is going to expedite clearance of low-risk travelers through security at airports; it says a pilot program over the last year has already saved passengers time, which DHS values at more than $2 million. And the Environmental Protection Agency will allow more paperwork to be filed electronically, and the White House says that'll save up to $126 million dollars a year.

Hobson: And Nancy, I assume that none of these new regulatory change involve any new regulations that came as part of Wall Street reform or healthcare reform?

Marshall-Genzer: That's right, Jeremy. In fact, the National Association of Manufacturers says regulations from those new laws are actually more of a threat to job creation and competitiveness.

Hobson: Alright, well let's get some reaction now from Professor Charles Elson who heads up the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware.

Professor Elson, do you think that these new regulatiory changes being announced today will help create jobs?

Charles Elson: Way too little, way too late given the regulatory posture of this administration, a bit disingenuous, and I think grasping at straws.

Hobson: But we're still talking about hundreds of regulatory cuts, right?

Elson: Well you know, the general theme of this administration has been heavy, heavy regulation in all kinds of areas. And it's basically like having someone hit you in the head with a lead pipe, and then offering to shake your hand. It doesn't get you very far.

Hobson: Well, let me ask you though -- there's been obviously a lot of criticism about over-regulation from the Obama administration, and that that's hampering the recovery. But isn't it just a lack of demand? A big recession, isn't that what's the problem here?

Elson: It's part of it, but I think it's also uncertainty about how these new regulations will play out ultimately in corporate profitability -- whether it's Dodd-Frank or anything else this group has done, there's a real lack of confidence throughout the economy as to where we're going in the future. And a lack of understanding what this administration really intends to do or not do. And I think that uncertainty has been part of the problem with capital formation that we've seen in this recession.

Hobson: Charles Elson, head of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, thanks so much.

Elson: Thank you.

Hobson: And Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer in Washington, thank you.

Marshall-Genzer: You're welcome.