As Adam White discusses in detail, there’s nothing moderate or incremental about the increase in federal regulations — and hence in centralized executive power — under President Obama. To the contrary (as White notes), according to figures published by the Obama White House (see table 2-1), the costs of regulations issued by this administration have dwarfed the costs of regulations issued by prior administrations.
In fact, as the chart below shows, the costs of “major” regulations — those estimated to cost at least $100 million in any one year (in 2001 dollars) — issued by the Obama administration in its first three years nearly tripled the cost of those issued by the Clinton administration in its first three years, nearly quintupled the cost of those issued by the George W. Bush administration in its first three years, and nearly doubled the cost of those issued by Bush and Clinton combined. Again, that’s according to the Obama White House’s own tallies.
Of course, the Obama White House fancifully contends that, in addition to costing colossal sums of money, its regulations also save colossal sums of money. But only the truly credulous could believe this is true — or that there’s any accurate way to quantify the “savings” that would ensue from, say, cleaner air (to the extent that these regulations even legitimately advance such goals). If anyone believes that the Obama administration’s “Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide” saved $10.5 billion (that’s billion), as the administration claims (see Table 2-3), or that the “Portland Cement Notice of Reconsideration” saved $11.2 billion, then you probably also believe that our national debt isn’t any cause for alarm, that women in combat raises no identifiable concerns, and that if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.
Rest assured, however, that one thing the Obama White House isn’t lowballing is the estimated costs — often imposed upon private entities — of its enervating regulations. Here’s how Obama stacks up in that regard versus Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush: