From child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to our most recent strictures against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, we have, from time to time, embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.Beware when any politician advocates for "common sense" anything. Rarely does common sense enter into the equation, but the phrase sells. The Clean Air Act has become a nightmare that demonstrates exactly the wrong way to handle environmental issues.
Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. At other times, we have failed to meet our basic responsibility to protect the public interest, leading to disastrous consequences. Such was the case in the run-up to the financial crisis from which we are still recovering. There, a lack of proper oversight and transparency nearly led to the collapse of the financial markets and a full-scale Depression.
Over the past two years, the goal of my administration has been to strike the right balance. And today, I am signing an executive order that makes clear that this is the operating principle of our government.
This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth. And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive. It's a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades.
Still, the thought that someone will be trying to cut down on job-killing regulation is comforting, if true. At least he recognizes the need. It seems unlikely to succeed in this administration with its proven anti-business orientation and appointees. I do not see Mr. Obama or his appointees as having the track record or mindset to understand what regulation is truly needed and what is not (especially the latter). For me, I will believe in success of the announced initiative only when I see it.