DiFi Challenger Emken: Regulations Bad Under Certain Circumstances

Four-term U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is seeking re-election this year, and 14 Republicans are lining up to challenge her. The choice of the Golden State’s Republican bigwigs is the nonprofit executive Elizabeth Emken, who is the subject of my print column in the current issue of Reason

In the FlashReport, Jon Fleischman continues his "ongoing effort to bring original, thoughtful commentary" by publishing Emken’s policy paper on regulation

I didn’t have too many kind words for Emken, and I’m voting for Rick Williams in next week’s primary. A few Emken supporters have written in to challenge my characterization of the candidate as weak tea. (Andrew Sullivan on the other hand says the piece was insufficiently zealous in its praise of America’s sovereign ruler.) So in the interest of fairness, let me say that while Emken’s policy paper didn’t knock my socks off, it is way better than anything coming out of Feinstein lately. Some samples: 

Does it surprise anyone that a recent video revealed an EPA official comparing his agency’s methods of dealing with non-compliance with crucifixion?

This same story is happening every day, all over the country. Thanks to over-taxation, over-regulation and over-litigation, American companies are at a distinct competitive disadvantage. It’s much easier to do business everywhere else but here, so if we’re worried about “saving the environment,” let’s keep America’s business environment in mind when we’re making those decisions.

The simple truth is that our economy will be more productive when our political class removes the barriers to growth.

The annual cost of federal regulations in the United States increased to more than $1.75 trillion, according to a study commissioned by the Small Business Administration.  That’s equal to 12% of our entire economy.  If every U.S. household had to pay an equal share of the federal regulatory burden, each of us would owe $15,586...

For example, an “economically significant regulation” is one that will cost more than $100 million.  From 1998 to 2007, federal agencies announced between 50 and 80 major regulations per year.  Today, federal agencies have proposed 219 economically significant regulations. That’s over two and a half times the number of regulations from 5 years ago that will end up costing American taxpayers more than $100 million each.

In terms of total regulations, in each of the last three years more than 3,500 new regulations were adopted.  At this very moment, there are 4,257 new regulations in the pipeline. That’s the only pipeline I can think of that absolutely needs to be turned down.

I remain underwhelmed by Emken’s intellectual thrust. Over what period did the annual cost of regulations increase to $1.75 trillion – Feinstein’s time in office, the 21st century so far, the Obama Administration, or some other time frame? And the none-too-witty wordplay gets in the way of making actual points: Instead of the single-and-a-half entendre embedded in that "environment/business environment" line, how about noting that the supposed tension between vigorous capitalism and a sound environment is false, as should be clear to anybody who’s visited a third world cement factory or a dried-up post-Soviet lake

Still, the alternative to Emken’s is DiFi’s view that we need more regulation, that we need it without delay, and that the only thing holding back America’s hens is the lack of a national laying standard set by Big Egg

Emken’s policy proposal: 

Place a moratorium on new regulations exceeding $100 million except for cases of national security and repeal all recently enacted regulations exceeding $100 million unless they pass rigorous benefit tests.

Emken detractors have lately been playing up her role as a lobbyist in the Obamacare debate. (She wanted to get autism coverage added but says she didn’t support the PPACA itself.) This video skirts the outside border of reality by calling her an "Obamacare lobbyist." A supporter of universal health care with an individual mandate can be the Republican presidential candidate, but apparently there are still some standards in the Senate. 

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  • BarryD||

    Feinstein is a Republican?

    Who knew?!?

  • Broseph of Invention||

    But can you blame him for not noticing the difference?

  • SKR||

    Lol, thought I was going crazy there for a minute.

  • ||

    Doh! Thanks.

  • BarryD||

    No problem. I just got a chuckle out of that one!

    Feinstein is still a big reason for why some of our persuasion call the Dems the "evil party". I'm not sure the "stupid party" even has such a recognizable flag-bearer.

  • robc||

    Tim - you were one of the reasonidiots who voted for Obama?

    Sigh... Well screw you, blame for his presidency falls directly on your shoulders.

  • ||

    Absolutely, because if I'd voted for McCain he would have taken California.

  • robc||

    But you had the option to be blamed for President Barr too!

  • sarcasmic||

    Roseanne?

  • Mongo||

    BobFucking.

  • BakedPenguin||

  • fried wylie||

    If every U.S. household had to pay an equal share of the federal regulatory burden

    "When" not "If"

  • Mo' $parky||

    Huh? "When" will never happen. Poor people would have to start paying and rich people would breathe a sigh of relief if that happened.

  • mr simple||

    I don't know about her numbers and she doesn't define her units, but I see absolutely no problem with this:

    The simple truth is that our economy will be more productive when our political class removes the barriers to growth.

    It needs to be said more often by more people.

  • John||

    http://pjmedia.com/jchristiana.....nto-farce/

    Apparently the Brett Kimberlein hearing ended in the guy he has been threatening going to jail. Yeah, America is going fascist.

  • ||

    And once again, Cavanaugh shows us why he is consistently the wittiest, pithiest and all around best writer on the Reason Staff (Suderman, Too-chill-ayy, and Steigerwald also rank very high. Jesse Walker, finish your damn book already!).

    Emken detractors have lately been playing up her role as a lobbyist in the Obamacare debate. (She wanted to get autism coverage added but says she didn’t support the PPACA itself.) This video skirts the outside border of reality by calling her an "Obamacare lobbyist." A supporter of universal health care with an individual mandate can be the Republican presidential candidate, but apparently there are still some standards in the Senate.

    This makes absolutely no sense! I was against ObamneyCare before I was for it? Does this woman have autism herself? It would not surprise me in the least if one of her PAC contributors was Big Vax and/or Big Pharma. UHC people are my enemy, simply put; this woman needs a truth enema, since the very regulatory agencies she supposedly decries are the ones she precisely champions over her cause celeb, autism. Which, as a physician, I am convinced is both over and mis-DX'd in the vast majority of cases, though I'm a surgeon and not a neurologist nor a psychiatrist.

  • R C Dean||

    Emken detractors have lately been playing up her role as a lobbyist in the Obamacare debate. (She wanted to get autism coverage added but says she didn’t support the PPACA itself.)

    This makes perfect sense to me, as a former lobbyist. First, of course, lobbyists are hired guns, and lobby as directed by their clients. As with lawyers, there's no shame in taking on a client that you personally disagree with, although there can be some virtue in turning down such clients.

    Second, lobbying to fine tune a bill that your client actually opposes is perfectly normal. If you can't beat it, you negotiate it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That first picture. I'm surprised Debra has time to run, having to take care of Raymond and the kids and deal with her in-laws.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    How long before Emken gets the SWAT team called on her by Brett Kimberlin?

  • ||

    Tim, Rick Williams doesn't appear in my "official voter guide." So who is he and why should I vote for him?

  • ||

    Should any other perspective on Elizabeth Emken's qualifications be expected from Reason's editor Tim Cavanaugh? After all, his credentials include, Tim Cavanaugh
    Managing Editor, Reason.com

    Tim Cavanaugh is the managing editor of Reason.com and a columnist for Reason's print edition.

    Cavanaugh, a journalist and screenwriter, has worked as the online editor of the Los Angeles Times and ran the late, lamented Suck. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Slate, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Beirut Daily Star, San Francisco Magazine, Mother Jones, Agence France-Presse, Wired, Newsday, Salon, Orange County Register, The Rake magazine, and countless alternative and community papers. His own site, The Simpleton, gets updated very infrequently.

    In addition to his work as a writer, producer and on-air personality for Reason.tv, Cavanaugh co-wrote the feature film Home Run Showdown, which will be released in summer 2012. Impressive indeed, just another liberal character assassin that hides behind a keyboard knowing nothing about that which he blows hot air. I'm calling you out Timmy Boy. What say we meet?I happen to know Mrs. Emken in depth perhaps you would enjoy facts not fiction.? My place or yours, we both live in LA.

  • ||

    Jim, there's no need to hide behind a keyboard. Go ahead and blow our minds with some facts right here.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Took me a minute to figure out who you meant by "DiFi". I always think of her as "Fine Swein"

    -jcr

  • John C. Randolph||

    Wow, weirdest typo of the week. Make that "FIneSwine".

    -jcr

  • Keith3D||

    "That’s over two and a half times the number of regulations from 5 years ago that will end up costing American taxpayers more than $100 million each."

    $100 million for each taxpayer, ouch.

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