On Friday, September 2, 2011, President Obama announced that he was suspending the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule tightening air quality standards, recognizing that the regulation was certain to impair job creation in an already poor economic and employment environment. Last December, President Obama also signed legislation extending lowered tax rates enacted during the Bush Administration. Again, the reason given was to aid the economy.
Both of these actions, while measured, should be welcomed. But, they also point up two economic lessons that both democrats and republicans alike recognize. First, regulations hamper economic growth (particularly those where the cost of the burden is demonstrably greater than the benefits). Second, tax rates matter to economic growth. Given the near crisis present condition of the economy, and the recognition by both political parties of the merit of reducing regulations and permanently reducing the tax burden (particularly on capital), it seems illogical that all of the stops would not be pulled out NOW to get the economy moving. This being the case, why is further decisive action on these issues not forthcoming? What are we waiting for? The problem is obvious.
All comments are welcome.
Robert M. Bilkie Jr., CFA