Restoring America’s exceptionalism

Regulatory relief and reform

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Next, to restore incentive and encourage growth we must reduce the regulatory burden on our economy. There is a place for regulations that ensure safety and soundness and protect people from danger, but our regulatory structure has grown out of control.

Today we have too many regulations and too many regulatory authorities that have expanded the reach of the federal government too far. These regulations add billions to the cost of doing business and in their wake they kill jobs.

Take the requirement from ObamaCare that businesses must file with the IRS a form 1099 for any purchases from a vendor for goods or services over $600 in a year. Seriously, that is in the law. Of course, this is ridiculously burdensome and just adds to the red tape that small businesses face across the country. It should be repealed immediately.

According to the Small Business Administration, the average small business faces a cost of $10,585 in federal regulations per employee each year. These small employers represent 99.7 percent of all businesses and have created 64 percent of all new jobs over the past 15 years.

Imagine if small businesses could put the $10,000 per employee they spend each year on federal regulations directly back into new jobs.

Ronald Reagan once said a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth. It’s time to change that, at least when it comes to regulations.

I propose that any existing regulation with an economic impact of $100 million or more must be reviewed and if still necessary, re-promulgated every ten years to allow for public comment and a reassessment of the cost of the regulation. Instead of eternal life, these regulations will get ten years.

After ten years, there is no reason not to review, modernize, improve and reduce the cost of existing regulations.

Further, I believe that all new regulations that impose an economic cost on families, businesses or local governments should be subject to a regulatory paygo procedure before implementation. If government wants to issue a new regulation that is going to impose an economic cost, then it needs to reduce another regulatory burden elsewhere so that there is no new burden on the economy.

Some regulations, and some bills that have passed Congress, however, impose costs that are too great and can never be offset and must be repealed.

ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, TARP, and Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley fall in that category. Also, Congress must override the EPA’s endangerment finding so that regulatory cap and trade cannot be forced on the American people against their will.

Increased trade
As most Americans know, trade means jobs, and that is especially true in places like Indiana and Michigan where we grow food that the world consumes and make cars and other products that are used around the globe. Encouraging free trade lowers barriers to entry for our goods, and that in turn allows U.S. companies to create more jobs.

Protectionism and closing our doors to other countries does not help us, or people in the rest of the world. We must support expanded free trade to renew American exceptionalism and create jobs.

Despite the president’s stated objective of doubling American exports in the next five years, trade has largely been ignored by Democrats in Congress and the administration in recent years. With a new Republican majority in the House, I am hopeful that the free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea can move forward. We need to get those deals done, and done right, but it should not end there. We must promote increased trade at every opportunity around the world. When the world buys American, Americans go to work.

Renewing the character of the nation
Finally, to renew American exceptionalism, we must recognize that our present crisis is not merely economic but moral in nature. At the root of these times should be the realization that people in positions of authority from Washington to Wall Street have walked away from the timeless truths of honesty, integrity, an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and the simple notion that you ought to treat the other guy the way you want to be treated.

As strongly as I believe in the economic policies in this address, I know we will not restore this nation with public policy alone. It will require public virtue. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? As we promote policies to restore American exceptionalism, we must also reaffirm our nation’s commitment to the values that have made our prosperity possible. As we seek to build national wealth, we must renew our commitment to the institutions that nurture the character of our people–traditional family and religion.

Author: U.S. Congressman Mike Pence (Indiana 6th Disctrict) delivered remarks on the economy to the Detroit Economic Club. The content below is an excerpt of his speech