- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2011

President Obama stubbornly clings to the idea that adding government regulations will help the economy. Even the dire economic conditions won’t get in the way of his ideology.

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama dictated a suite of brand-new mandates for trucks and buses that will send shipping costs through the roof. Any day now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release new ozone rules that could cost the economy $1 trillion and destroy 7.3 million jobs, according to an estimate by the Manufacturers Alliance.

When it comes to putting people out of work, Mr. Obama is second to none. He took office with the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent. It’s now 9.1 percent.

Freshman Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, has more experience in creating jobs than our community-organizer-in-chief. For 31 years, Mr. Johnson ran a plastic-sheet production company he started with his brother-in-law.

“The regulatory burden that we’ve been putting on businesses for decades has gone into hyperdrive during the Obama administration,” Mr. Johnson told The Washington Times in an interview. “It’s really gone into super-hyperdrive now that they have lost their filibusterproof majorities in Congress. The only way they can push their agenda now is by doing it through the regulatory agencies. I thought we need to call a time out. Stop the madness.”

Mr. Johnson introduced the Regulation Moratorium and Job Preservation Act, which would stop federal agencies from implementing any significant new regulatory actions - except for national security and national emergencies - until the unemployment rate drops below 7.7 percent. The legislation already has 19 GOP co-sponsors.

The EPA and its backdoor “cap-and-trade” rules are the primary target.

“I do not know why they are trying to regulate us back to the Stone Age, but that is really what they are trying to do,” Mr. Johnson explained. Democrats “want to see electricity rates skyrocket. How do you grow an economy with rising energy prices? They just don’t grasp the fact that in order to grow an economy, you need energy.”

The other problem with excess regulation is that it encourages industry to pack its bags looking for a friendlier business climate. A medical-device manufacturer in Wisconsin, for example, is waiting to get Food and Drug Administration approval for a device to help people with glaucoma.

“That business will go offshore,” Mr. Johnson said. “It is not a huge business, but the problem is that these regulations destroy businesses on a case-by-case basis; they destroy jobs on a worker-by-worker basis.”

Mr. Obama already has spent $4 trillion in borrowed money during his time in office, and his lavish “shovel-ready” schemes have failed to stimulate anything other than the length of the unemployment lines. Mr. Johnson’s alternative would let the real job creators - the private sector - take over. They’re the ones who know how to get the job done.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.