Aug. 10, 2012
In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed column, Paul Rubin, a professor of economics, asserts that the Obama administration has been hostile to business, despite the President’s words to the contrary.
Rubin referred to the President’s recent public statement on July 13, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen,” which the administration says was taken out of context. Rubin is willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt and assume that “he merely meant that business is impossible without government institutions that create the infrastructure for the economy to operate.”
He continues: “But business is certainly not getting ‘a climate that helps us grow’ from the current administration. That administration has instead created a hostile climate through its regulatory policies.” Rubin cites an analysis by the Heritage Foundation that found the Obama administration adopted 106 major regulations, costing business more than $100 million, in its first three years.
Rubin notes also that the administrations refusal to allow a private company to build the Keystone XL pipeline, reductions in offshore drilling permits, and increased EPA regulations slow the production of gasoline, which is just as important as infrastructure to business. “If transportation is an important input from government to creating a favorable climate for business,” he wrote, “shouldn’t we be encouraging, not discouraging, gasoline production?”
He also slams the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms and the Consumer Protection Act, which, according to Rubin, make raising capital and investing more difficult and increases uncertainty, thereby reducing incentives to invest. He’s no fan either of an increased minimum wage or recent anti-business interpretations of the Americans With Disabilities Act requiring all hotel-based swimming pools to provide increased access to disabled persons.
Rubin concludes, “if we accept the reinterpretation of his speech in light of his administration’s deeds, it indicates a belief that a hostile regulatory climate poses no danger to economic growth. Either interpretation means that this administration is not good for business.”
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