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Obama considers shedding rules that hurt job growth

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Taking another step toward mending his relationship with the business community, President Barack Obama will order a review of federal regulations with an eye toward getting rid of those that stifle job creation and hurt economic growth

The president planned to sign an executive order Tuesday telling federal agencies to look for rules that place an unreasonable burden on businesses.

In an opinion column Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, the president also said he wants his administration to strike a balance between protecting the public and promoting economic growth.

The move comes as the Obama administration works to repair its relationship with corporate America, which has been reluctant to make investments and hire more people, in part because of uncertainty over government regulations and tax policies. Following his party's sweeping defeats in November's midterm elections, Obama acknowledged that he needed to better manage his relationship with the private sector.

Since then, the White House has steadily courted support from the business community: Obama held a five-hour meeting with CEOs in December; he named William Daley, a business executive, as his new chief of staff; and next month, he'll speak at the Chamber of Commerce, a trade group that has battled his top policy initiatives on health care and financial regulation.

Officials at the Chamber said Tuesday they were studying Obama's new regulatory review.

The review, Obama wrote, tells agencies to look for outdated regulations that make the U.S. economy less competitive.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," Obama wrote.

Federal agencies also won't shy away from addressing gaps in regulations, such as new safety rules for infant formula and procedures that stop preventable infections from spreading in hospitals, Obama wrote.

"We are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb," the president wrote.

Other regulations, such as the Clean Air Act or child labor laws, are necessary to prevent abuse, he wrote, and "strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy," he wrote.

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  1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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