Inside the Beltway: Dodd-Frank=5,320 pages

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Taming the Dodd-Frank Act: It’s a daunting job, but someone equipped with a whip and a chair may manage to do it. Federal regulations emerging from the new law are occupying many pages — already twice as many as health care reform legislation — and officials are not even half finished with their task. The rising cost of complying with the law threatens the nation’s small banks and financial institutions, prompting a House Financial Services subcommittee to call a hearing for Wednesday on the “regulatory onslaught.”

More than 400 new rules ultimately will be imposed. Consider that regulators have written 185 of them — totaling 5,320 pages. The subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit predicts it will take the private sector some 24 million hours every year to comply with this first batch alone. It took a mere 20 million man hours to build the entire Panama Canal. See their research here: www.financialservices.house.gov/burdentracker.

While some of the regulations are necessary, many only serve to “stifle economic growth and employment,” says Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama Republican and committee chairman. “We must make certain they do not harm the economy by drowning small business lenders in a sea of red tape.”

Needless to say, a recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP survey found that 90 percent of banking industry leaders cite overregulation as “the biggest threat” to their businesses.

LET THEM EAT CAKE

And speaking of regulations: Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Texas have new statewide rules meant to limit the offerings at bake sales in public schools to nutritious food alone, and therefore curb childhood obesity. Massachusetts joined the pack Monday with nutrition standards that target goodies sold or served during the school day in hallways, cafeterias, stores, vending machines and holiday parties. Officials are also eyeing the signature treats at weekend and community events such as banquets and football games.

Massachusetts residents appear vexed, according to an online survey of 8,800 Boston Herald readers. Ninety-five percent say the state should not ban such goodies in public schools.

“Whats next? Will they install food detectors at the doors? Will they be searching backpacks for candy?” demands Holly Robichaud, a political blogger at the paper. “This is what happens when government gets too big. To the liberals … I have one message. Bite me.”

OUI OUI

“Fox News Reports: France Joins America in Electing Socialist President”

(Parody headline from comedian Andy Borowitz.)

HANOI REVISITED

To be introduced Tuesday evening at a swank spot on Capitol Hill by Sen. John McCain: that would be former POW and retired Air Force Col. Lee Ellis and his forthcoming book “Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.”

The officer flew an F4C Phantom on 53 combat missions over Vietnam before he was shot down in 1967 at the age of 23 and spent five years in the infamous Hoa Lo prison. The pilot lived to tell about it, and learn from it. His message to leaders everywhere: “Embrace courage and honor in day-to-day work.”

Mr. McCain, who spent years in the Hanoi Hilton himself, lauds and endorses the book, which will be published May 14 by Freedom Star Media.

NOW HEAR THIS

One hotel in the nation’s capital is about to get very crowded. And noisy. Fifty talk-radio hosts from around the nation will broadcast their programs live from the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday, under the auspices of the feisty Federation for American Immigration Reform. The two-day event is called “Hold Their Feet to the Fire.”

Organizers say the hosts will assemble to “focus on efforts by the Obama administration to carry out an unlegislated backdoor amnesty for millions of illegal aliens under the guise of “prosecutorial discretion,” and Congress’ failure to respond to the usurpation of its authority to make immigration policy. New state measures such as Arizona’s SB 1070 will be much under the microscope.

Among many, the cast of hosts include The Washington Times’ own Andy Parks, WTNT’s Armstrong Williams and Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock. Twenty-five Republican lawmakers also will lend their opinions, including Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennesseee, Allen B. West of Florida, Steve King of Iowa, Ted Poe of Texas and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin.

NOT SO SECRET

An unfortunate reality for the Secret Service following the clandestine agency’s recent scandal during a presidential visit to Colombia: “Has the Secret Service stayed out of the eye of the media?” asks HighBeam Research, a marketing group that tracks content in some 6,500 major publications. The answer of course, is “no.”

The increase in attention from print media alone “has been quite substantial,” the Chicago-based group says, noting that the Secret Service drew more than 3,000 mentions from October 2011 through Monday — an extra 1,000 mentions, compared to the previous six-month period.

POLL DU JOUR

• 96 percent of U.S. voters likely will vote in the 2012 elections.

• 81 percent say Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith makes “no difference” to them.

• 65 percent say Republicans will stay the majority party in the House; 41 percent say Democrats will stay the majority party in the Senate.

• 62 percent say Mr. Romney’s choice of a running mate has no impact on their decision to vote for him.

• 47 percent would vote for Mr. Romney if the election were held today, 46 percent for President Obama.

• 45 percent lean toward the Republican congressional candidate, 43 percent to the Democratic candidate.

Source: A George Washington University/Politico poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted April 29 to March 3.

Whines, grumbles and guffaws to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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