Regulation Nation: A Look at Obama's Legacy

Date: August 16, 2016 Last Edit: August 18, 2016

The current administration’s unprecedented number of rules includes major legislative pieces that have had huge financial impacts on small business.

Looking back on the past eight years, it’s clear what Pres. Barack Obama’s legacy will be for small business: regulation. 

“Once a presidential candidate with deep misgivings about executive power, Mr. Obama will leave the White House as one of the most prolific authors of major regulations in presidential history,” The New York Times reported.

Fight for fewer small business regulations. 

The think tank American Action Forum projects that Obama will pass 641 major rules before leaving office, The Hill reported. This will amount to $813 billion in regulatory costs. It’s estimated the 600 major rules already issued impose a $2,294 regulatory burden on every American, The Wall Street Journal reported

Among the 20,642 regulations Obama has enacted since 2009, the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial regulations are two of the highest-profile changes that have deeply impacted small business. 

It’s harder for small business owners to secure credit because of the regulations Dodd-Frank places on community banks—those that do most of the small business lending, The Daily Signal reported. And the Affordable Care Act has burdened owners with skyrocketing healthcare costs since its enactment in 2010. The impact of regulations large and small can be felt everywhere. 

Despite consumer spending increasing in the second quarter of 2016, business spending contracted, a sign that businesses are cautious about expanding, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel

“Weary from Obama’s relentless war on capital, corporate chieftains build an arsenal of cash rather than investing to create jobs,” the Knoxville News Sentinel reported

Other Obama-era regulations include increasing the minimum wage for federal workers and contractors to $10.10 an hour, requiring paid sick leave for federal contractors, and increasing the number of employees eligible for overtime pay. Many of these costly regulations have faced intense challenges from business groups around the country. But the president isn’t done yet. 

As many as 50 other rules are in the works and could be issued by the end of 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Photo credit: Pete Souza

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