By the Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial Board, August 15, 2023
Janet Yellen made a stop at a Las Vegas union hall this week as part of President Joe Biden’s desperate effort to tout his administration’s economic agenda. She was especially proud of legislation that directs billions in federal money to favored green interests.
“Our climate strategy,” she said, “is based on a simple premise: Targeting public investments can help mobilize private capital toward compelling public policy objectives.”
This “simple premise” is an offshoot of Mr. Biden’s infatuation with “industrial policy.” Rather than allow investors and market participants to adapt to changing circumstances and demand, the Biden/Yellen approach posits that central planners and politicians know better and must provide taxpayer “incentives” to drive behavior while picking winners and losers.
It’s a woefully inefficient approach with a remarkably consistent record of long-term failure.
But it becomes even more counterproductive when the president wields rule-making authority like a cudgel, bypassing Congress to issue edicts that touch a wide swath of the U.S. economy. In the past few months, The Wall Street Journal notes, the White House has unleashed a “regulatory typhoon” that will cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars and cover automakers, publicly traded companies and domestic manufacturers.
“We’ve never seen this level before in any administration,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, told Fox News in May. “We want to call attention to the barrage of regulations that manufacturers are facing right now.”
President Donald Trump famously vowed to repeal two regulations for every new one imposed. Since taking office, Mr. Biden has not only nixed that common-sense approach, he is setting records for meddling. The Journal notes that the cost of the president’s overactive administrative state is $5,019 per household, according to a University of Chicago analysis, up 15 percent from the Obama years.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute reports that the administration may soon kill rules that mandate additional scrutiny for “economically significant” regulations. “Losing the ‘economically significant’ flag would be a real problem” CEI’s Clyde Wayne Crews wrote in June. “Congress needs to … monitor regulatory shenanigans in the coming months.”
Central planning combined with an aggressive regulatory apparatus is no recipe for prosperity and growth. As the administration pooh-poohs the nation’s $32 trillion debt and runs up $1.5 trillion deficits, it’s time for Ms. Yellen and Mr. Biden to see a “compelling public policy” objective in fiscal sanity.