Last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to a company that sells packaged walnuts. Believe it or not, the federal government claimed the walnuts were being marketed as a drug. So Washington ordered the company to stop telling consumers about the health benefits of walnuts.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule on fossil-fuel emissions from boilers that—by the EPA's own admission—would cost the private sector billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. The owner of a small business in Maine told me the proposed rule would require him to scrap a new, $300,000 wood waste boiler he recently installed.
No wonder America's employers dread what is coming next out of Washington. Our country cannot afford regulations run amok at a time when no net new jobs are created and unemployment remains above 9%. But at least we're safe from health claims about walnuts.
America's overregulation problem is only getting worse. Right now, federal agencies are at work on more than 4,200 rules, 845 of which affect small businesses, the engine of job creation in our country. More than 100 are major rules, with an economic impact of more than $100 million each.
No business owner I know questions the legitimate role of limited government in protecting our health and safety. Too often, however, our small businesses are buried under a mountain of paperwork that drives up costs, prevents the hiring of workers, and impedes economic growth.Business owners are reluctant to create jobs today when they're going to need to pay more tomorrow to comply with onerous new regulations. That's what employers mean when they say that uncertainty generated by Washington is a big wet blanket on our economy.