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Obama on Regulations: Paradox or Just More Hypocrisy?

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Barack Obama likes to tell people about how awful things were during those ‘lawless’ years during the previous administration, and he warns Americans that we cannot go back to those days. During his four-year campaign for re-election, Obama often says that his opponents want to roll back regulations and eliminate rules in comments like:

“The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, there we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘You’re on your own.’ If you get sick, you’re on your own. If you can’t afford college, you’re on your own. If you don’t like that some corporation is polluting your air or the air that your child breathes, then you’re on your own.” (October 2011)

In his 2012 DNC acceptance speech, Obama expanded on the theme by saying, “Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing.”

In Obama’s mind, the entire Bush presidency was a period of no regulations, no rules and no accountability, which he claims are the same policies that Mitt Romney currently supports. Obama says this despite the fact that during the Bush presidency, the size of the federal government nearly doubled. In 2001 when Bush came into office, total federal outlays were $1.86 trillion. When Bush left office in 2009, they were $3.52 trillion. Some of the increase in 2009 was due to the TARP program, but even in 2008 total federal outlays were $2.98 trillion. (source – www.whitehouse.gov)

Also during the Bush administration, total federal employees increased from 4.132 million in 2001 to 4.43 million in 2009. Interestingly, the number of federal had dropped during the Bill Clinton administration – the total number of federal employees was 4.758 million when Clinton assumed office in 1993. One has to wonder why Obama has not complained about the lawlessness under Clinton given that there was such a high reduction of federal employees during his administration. (source – www.opm.gov)

But then recently Obama was also crediting himself for passing fewer regulations than Bush. Even back in his 2012 State of the Union speech he stated, “I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.”

So on the one hand, Obama is bashing his current opponent and his predecessor for being in favor of fewer regulations and then on the other hand he is crediting himself for approving fewer regulations. Is this simply a paradox or just another Obama hypocrisy?

Of course, as is always the case, Obama leaves out some key points regarding regulations. First, he fails to note that the regulations that he has approved are far more costly than those passed by his predecessor.

Second, he fails to note that Bush wanted to add even more regulations during his administration, primarily some much-needed regulation to help control two leading causes of the financial crisis – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But those attempts by Bush to further regulate those quasi-government organizations were thwarted by three key members of Congress. Two of them were Chris Dodd and Barney, the laughable duo whose names are now enshrined on a massive financial reform package. The third member was also one of the biggest beneficiaries of campaign donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as their employees. That person was none other than Barack Obama.

So whether it is a paradox or just more hypocrisy, Obama once again is trying to straddle the fence of another contentious issue – this time being the level of federal regulations imposed on the American people. It would be nice if one of the moderators in the upcoming debates would ask Obama how he takes credit for passing fewer regulations than his predecessor but then criticizes his predecessor for presiding over a period of supposedly massive roll backs of regulations. However, given the absolute lack of interest on the part of the so-called mainstream media to question the Obama administration about its false narrative about the deaths of four Americans, including one Ambassador, in Libya, it is unlikely that any questions that force Obama to tell the truth about regulations will be forthcoming anytime soon.

Rob Binsrick

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