It was supposed to be the White House’s latest make-nice session with corporate America — a visit by Chief of Staff William M. Daley to a meeting with hundreds of manufacturing executives in town to press lawmakers for looser regulations.Ah, the chief of staff for the president who has tried to rule by administrative fiat (no, not the company that they helped to buy Chrysler, the word meaning arbitrary order) and by expanding the reach of the bureaucracy finds "bureaucratic stuff" "hard to defend."
But the outreach soon turned into a rare public dressing down of the president’s policies with his highest-ranking aide.
One by one, exasperated executives stood to air their grievances on environmental regulations and stalled free-trade deals. And Daley, the former banker tasked with building ties with industry, found himself looking for the right balance between empathy and defending his boss.
At one point, the room erupted in applause when Massachusetts utility executive Doug Starrett, his voice shaking with emotion, accused the administration of blocking construction on one of his facilities to protect fish, saying government “throws sand into the gears of progress.”
Daley said he did not have many good answers, appearing to throw up his hands in frustration at what he called “bureaucratic stuff that’s hard to defend.”
“Sometimes you can’t defend the indefensible,” he said.
Even as the White House pledges more receptivity to corporate concerns, business continues to spar with the administration on numerous fronts.You know, I bet these corporate executives didn't get to where they are by being plain dumb. They know what the health care law is going to cost them. They know what Obama's EPA regulations will cost them. They know what Obama's support for unions and cap and trade will do to their bottom lines. So nice as it is for Daley to give them a couple of hours of his time, it's not enough to convince them that this administration is all about getting out of the way of business and letting them work to grow the economy.
Wall Street is lobbying to undo many of the new regulations signed into law last year. Manufacturers say environmental policies are hindering growth. And, in a high-profile case that tests the administration’s allegiances, aerospace giant Boeing is warr
But some business executives in the room said they were unimpressed by the White House’s attempts to woo industry.Perhaps they read this story, highlighted at Hot Air, about how the EPA just made up their supposed cost-benefit analysis of their Clean Air Act regulations with the merest veneer of evidence.
“We think there’s a thin facade by the administration to say the right things, but they don’t come close to doing things,” said Barney T. Bishop III, chief executive of the business group Associated Industries of Florida. He called the efforts to streamline regulations “immaterial.”
“We love the platitudes, but we want to see action,” Bishop said.
As U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson heads to Capitol Hill today to testify before Congress regarding her agency’s regulations, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) released a new report analyzing the purported economic effects of those rules. In “Assessment of Obama Administration’s Cost-Benefit Analysis of Clean Air Act Regulation,” economist David Montgomery reveals the very large net regulatory benefits touted by EPA rely on apples to orange comparisons, where the vast majority of the benefits have none of the financial reality that the costs do.So, Mr. Daley, don't bother trying to fool these businessmen about how your administration is all about common-sense regulation scientifically based on a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. That's all hooey, and they know it.
“In its Clean Air Act appraisal, EPA substitutes calculated misdirection for solid analysis,” explained NTU Executive Vice President Pete Sepp. “Nearly all of EPA’s promised $2 trillion in benefits from existing regulations stem from feelings rather than fiscal improvements.
“Federal regulators arrived at their staggering figures by polling individuals on how much they’d be willing to pay to reduce risks in general, mostly using estimates from studies of occupational risks unrelated to air pollution,” Sepp continued.
Dr. Montgomery added: “While less than 3 percent of the EPA’s purported benefits will show up as additional jobs or real output in the economy, 100 percent of the costs will do so. Even EPA’s own macroeconomic analysis shows that existing air pollution regulations are a net drag on the economy. And EPA’s tally doesn’t even take into account the costs of its pending new ozone standards and regulations on electric utilities over the next decade.”