A recent survey conducted on behalf of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council produced some remarkable insights into how the American public views the regulatory onslaught by President Obama against economic freedom and opportunity. The SBE is a non-partisan advocacy group that promotes measures like the Jumpstart Our Businesses Act of 2012 that enabled entrepreneurs to use crowd-funding resources to attract investors. Among the results of the SBE survey:
Too much special interest influence: Eighty-four percent of those surveyed “believe there are too many special interests involved in shaping government regulations. On this point there is ‘tri-partisan’ agreement: 84 percent of Democrats are joined by 85 percent of Independents and 88 percent of Republicans.”
The regulatory system is failing: Seventy-four percent of those surveyed “believe it should be a priority for policymakers in Washington to address ‘how government regulates businesses.’ ”
Too much regulation is hurting economic growth: Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (61 percent) believe “government regulations on businesses are more likely to ‘harm the economy by interfering with the free market, preventing businesses from growing and hiring new employees, and increasing prices for consumers.’ ”
Regulation doesn’t do what its advocates promise: Only one-third of those surveyed (33 percent) believe the current regulatory approach helps “the economy by ensuring fair competition for all businesses, protecting consumers and the environment, and punishing irresponsible companies.”
In addition, according to SBE President and CEO Karen Kerrigan, most “Americans believe regulations are negatively impacting job creation, economic growth and new business startups. Americans also believe the process by which regulations are drafted is too secretive. Basically, they believe the process is rigged against them.”
These results are consistent with the recent Gallup Poll that found three-fourths of Americans believe Big Government is the biggest problem facing the country. But even bigger problems are in the offing. Kerrigan observes that “what is now playing out with Obamacare shows why entrepreneurs pointed to this flawed law as a major concern (if not the top concern) that would impact their growth, job creation and survival. Thousands of other proposed regulations are currently in the pipeline at the federal level that will impact every facet of business operations - access to capital; affordable energy; workplace and human capital flexibility; and much more.”
Kerrigan's group early next year will open its new Center for Regulatory Solutions that will seek to encourage creative alternatives to the dead hand of government bureaucracy. The bureaucrats issued more than 3,500 new regulations in 2013 and more than 4,000 more are in the pipeline, adding significantly to the 77,000+ pages of dos and don'ts in the Federal Register.
The Center for Regulatory Solutions will start, according to Kerrigan, with proposals for greater transparency and accountability in the regulatory process. Here’s to hoping the president who promised that his would be “the most transparent administration in history” will be listening closely when SBE takes the wraps off those proposals.