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Economy 4.0

Cruising the same wavelength with Darrell Issa and The Heritage Foundation

David Brancaccio Jan 5, 2011

It is part of the Economy 4.0 beat to keep an eye on new rules of the road for the economy. And so it was with interest I noted pieces in Politico, the New York Times and the LA Times about Congressman Darrell Issa’s letter sent out to businesses across the land.

The incoming head of the Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee in the House of Representatives is asking more than 150 companies, trade groups, and think tanks to identify existing and new Obama Administration regulations that are hurting business. In the letter, Congressman Issa also solicits tips on what to change: “suggestions on reforming identified regulations and the rulemaking process would be appreciated.” Critics say this is an example of the new Republican leadership being too cozy to business.

MSNBC was also able to obtain what it labeled as the text of the original form letter. However, in search for a more primary source, I typed a line from the letter…

“The new limits on “effluent” discharges from construction sites will cost $810.8 million annually resulting in the closure of 147 construction firms and the loss of 7,257 jobs.”

…into an online search engine, and got an interesting result: an October document from the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation containing this quite similar paragraph:

“Limits on ‘effluent’ discharges from construction sites imposed by the EPA. Annual cost: $810.8 million. The cost of the requirements will force the closure of 147 construction firms and the loss of 7,257 jobs, according to the EPA. Homebuyers also will bear some of the costs, with an increase in mortgage costs of about $1,953.”

The pattern repeats with some other lines from the Congressman’s letter. A search on this line:

“In fiscal year 2010, federal agencies promulgated 43 major new regulations.”

…yields the same link, The Heritage Foundation’s “Red Tape Rising: Obama’s Torrent of New Regulation” by James Gattuso, Diane Katz, and Stephen Keen that contains the remarkably similar line:

“…federal agencies promulgated 43 rules during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.”

The Congressman’s letter also says of the cost of regulation that it is “often referred to as the hidden tax.” The first sentence of The Heritage Foundation report is: “The cost of regulation has often been called a hidden tax.”

To be sure, great minds can think alike. I’d be interested to read what you think.

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