Thursday, October 27, 2011

Messaging on Regulation

Got an email from today that reads, in part:
Yesterday, a Bloomberg News analysis found that the Obama administration has passed fewer regulations than George W. Bush had at this point in his presidency...
(Funnily, the link on "Bloomberg News analysis" points not to Bloomberg News, but to a Huffpo article about it. Here's the original, for those who want the straight dope.) The first paragraph in the Huffpo:
President Barack Obama has signed fewer regulations than President George W. Bush had at this point in his presidency, but it's putting a bigger dent into the wallets of the effected (sic). [emphasis mine]
Do I really care about the number of rules that have been passed? If Obama had a passed a single rule, but it cost the economy a trillion dollars, should I feel better because he's passed "fewer" rules? I think all I care about is the cost, or actually, what I care about is the net benefit, since surely we aren't making regulations just for the sake of making them. I'm not sure who this email is aimed at. Democrats will be upset that Obama isn't regulating more. Republicans might be a little surprised, but sharp ones will notice that he's costing us more anyway, and conservative Republicans don't think either Bush is a model worth emulating. Independents? I don't hear many of them calling for more regulation, except maybe of the banking industry. Very, very odd. The Obama campaign is floundering for a message, it would seem.

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