Too many rules burden business

One major factor crippling the economic recovery is the tax-and-regulatory straitjacket confronting any American businessman who contemplates adding new jobs.

The mechanism by which these regulations and extractions come into being is part of the problem. For long decades, Congress has fallen into the habit of passing bills full of noble sentiments, but with lots of blank pages. These blank tablets are then sent on to the huddling hordes of unelected bureaucrats with the instruction, "We don’t have time to fiddle with the details; write up a few thousand pages of nice regulations to make all this happen."

Tuesday, President Obama was widely characterized as seeking to "mend his relationship with the business community" as he signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to look for rules that place an unreasonable burden on businesses and hurt economic growth.

It’s a step in the right direction — although rather ironic from an administration that gave us ObamaCare and a virtual regulatory explosion.

In addition to the president’s move, Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., have proposed the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.

The bill guarantees an up-or-down vote (no Senate filibuster allowed) on regulations likely to cost $100 million or more, which would henceforth be allowed to take effect only if Congress passed a joint resolution and the president signed it.

"Such a procedural change would revolutionize government in practice and help restore the representative democracy the founders envisioned," The Wall Street Journal noted last week.

Is President Obama’s commitment to getting America back to work sincere enough that he will embrace, support and agree to sign the REINS Act? Or is he, instead, offering a half-measure in the hopes it will take the wind from Rep. Davis’ and Sen. DeMint’s sails?

We hope it’s the former.

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