Obama Administration

New York Times' Analysis of 'The Obama Era' Focuses on All Those Oppressive New Rules

His legacy will include hundreds of new federal regulations.

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Barack Obama
Department of Defense/Sipa USA/Newscom

It's extremely telling that the New York Times, for the start of a series of pieces exploring Barack Obama's ultimate impact in his two terms as president of the United States, bluntly refers to its first chapter as "The Regulator in Chief."

This first of what will be six deep dives into Obama's legacy is officially headlined "Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It." Yeah, no kidding. The writers, Binyamin Appelbaum and Michael D. Shear, note early in this first chapter that the Obama administration has finalized 560 "major regulations" that have significant impact. That's 50 percent more than the number under President George W. Bush, who was not much of an advocate for small government himself.

The president has been pretty obvious about why he took such a tack: He wanted to accomplish certain things and Congress (and the opposing party) stood in the way. This is one of the reasons Congress exists, but the massive expanse of our regulatory state provides a million avenues for the executive branch to create its own rules. And Congress has been reluctant to stop it. Keep in mind that Congress does have a mechanism to stop the implementation of new individual executive branch regulations if the members find them objectionable with the Congressional Review Act (CRA). However, the law is never used because such efforts can also be vetoed by the president. So in a sense, the Congressional deadlock has also allowed Obama to implement his policies without having to worry overly much about building a decent coalition of support from Congress.

The Times piece operates on the assumption that Obama's intentions are honorable, and that his regulation expansion is literally (and the story literally uses the word "literally") about placing a "higher value on human life." The use of "literally" is not entirely uncalled for: The story discusses a decision by the Department of Transportation to increase the estimated "value" of preventing a human's death from $6.6 million to $9.4 million and how that calculation was used to demand all sorts of additional safety regulations.

The story does not ignore that these regulations have had added major costs to businesses and consumers, though it does not seem interested in exploring how that can ultimately bounce back and harm the people the administration seems to think its regulations are helping. (Consider the likely real-world consequences in the administration's efforts to make more salaried employees subject to overtime regulations. And the insurance companies ending participation in Affordable Care Act exchanges.) The story mentions things like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) becoming more aggressive in "protecting thousands of waterways and wetlands" but fails to consider the absurd consequences of the agency treating the average landowner as a potential criminal, and while it mentions courts "temporarily blocking" some rules, doesn't mention that the Supreme Court unanimously smacked down the EPA over the summer in its attempt to prevent landowners from seeking judicial review of its determinations.

Also of interest: Not all new executive orders were about putting the screws to citizens with new regulations. Some were actually about easing them and giving us more freedom: ending travel restrictions to the United States for people with HIV, approving genetically engineered salmon, allowing over-the-counter access to Plan B birth control (though the federal courts also played a role in easing access).

But even when executive actions increase citizens' freedoms, what they're really doing is counteracting other regulations. The examples in the previous example are all of situations where the government had already been intruding in places where it shouldn't have been, justified by the same kind of reasons that inspired the Obama administration to introduce its own new raft of regulations. Obama's technocrats insist the process isn't politicized, but every administration insists that its regulations aren't politicized. That's inherently absurd, because they're obviously driven by the president's agenda, which is obviously pushed forward by those who support him. Of course it's political.

The story knows this and so it essentially ends with a warning:

But the scope of federal regulation has continued to grow, and the trend is likely to continue. Presidents, both Democratic and Republican, have asserted greater power in recent decades to dictate the shape of regulations, while Congress has become less specific in its instructions.

"We live in an era of presidential administration," Elena Kagan, a Harvard law professor since appointed by Mr. Obama to the Supreme Court, wrote in a 2001 paper that reviewed the expansion of the regulatory state.

Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump would most likely face significant congressional opposition to their major campaign promises. To sidestep Congress, they now have the legacy of Mr. Obama. Mr. [John] Podesta, now Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman, said the appeal of taking action without Congress is hard to resist.

"You come in with a strategy of going to the Hill, certainly where you can find some cooperation," Mr. Podesta said. But when that fails, writing regulations "is a way to get much more substantial throw-weight behind solving the problem."

Or … is that ending actually intended as a warning? When I was a young journalist I was taught that if you ended a story with a quote, you were—deliberately or subconsciously—telling the reader what they should take away from the piece. What does it say when the last word goes to the campaign chairman for one candidate essentially suggesting that they're going to continue Obama's tactics? That depends on what you think of the regulations Obama has passed.

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  1. Hey, its not like that pen and phone were going to sit idle!

    Can’t wait for our trolls to come on and have an apoplectic fit over;

    “The writers, Binyamin Appelbaum and Michael D. Shear, note early in this first chapter that the Obama administration has finalized 560 “major regulations” that have significant impact. That’s 50 percent more than the number under President George W. Bush, who was not much of an advocate for small government himself.”

    1. New anti-troll regulations should rapidly be finalized, to prevent such a calamity. Hopefully, they will specify that inappropriately deadpan mimicry may not be electronically distributed anywhere in this great nation, unless clearly marked “parody” or “satire.” They could be gathered together under a single regulatory chapter entitled “Poe’s Law.” See the documentation of America’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. My last pay check was 9700 dollar working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
      This is what I do,…. http://bit.do/FOX92

  2. The president has been pretty obvious about why he took such a tack: He wanted to accomplish certain things and Congress (and the opposing party) stood in the way. This is one of the reasons Congress exists, but the massive expanse of our regulatory state provides a million avenues for the executive branch to create its own rules.

    But remember, if you bark about these rules out of principle, it’s because you hate trannies, not because you’re skeptical of the unbending and unlimited power of leviathan.

    1. Nevaeh . I can see what your saying… Ruby `s stori is great… on tuesday I got a top of the range Infiniti after having earned $9212 thiss month and in excess of 10k this past month . no-doubt about it, this really is the most-comfortable job Ive ever done . I actually started nine months/ago and pretty much straight away was making minimum $77 per-hour . view …………. http://freedoms.top/

  3. Oh, in other news, Judge specifically cites BlackLivesMatter while punching a pubsec union square in the balls.

    U.S. District Judge James Robart, pointedly reacting to the Seattle police union’s rejection of a tentative contract, said Monday he would not let the powerful labor group hold the city “hostage” by linking wages to constitutional policing.

    “To hide behind a collective-bargaining agreement is not going to work,” Robart said during a dramatic court hearing he opened by laying out a path for police-accountability reform and closed with an emotional declaration that “black lives matter.”

    Oh, and if you want to peer inside the secret (yes, secret) negotiations between you (that you’re not allowed to see or vote on… did I mention ‘secret’?) and your pubsec unions, take a gander at this.

    1. Question: How can it be a negotiation between me and the unions if I’m not actually involved?

      1. Well, you’re signing the paychecks. The city council negotiates on your behalf. In secret.

        1. I’m not signing anything. I’m pretty sure the comptroller is signing the paychecks.

          1. Let’s just say there’s a whole lot of “on your behalf” going on.

            1. The scare quotes being very necessary and relevant there.

      2. Oh, and when they go on strike, they’re striking against you. So there’s that, too.

          1. No, the ‘at’ comes in when they’re on the job. Working for you.

            1. STOP *BLAM* RESISTING *BLAM* YOU PAID FOR THIS *BLAM*

          2. Might end up being both…

      3. You voted for your elected representatives, and they appointed officials to negotiate on your behalf, and it’s Not Robart’s job to protect you from the consequences of your electoral decisions.

        /theotherRoberts

        1. You voted for your elected representatives

          The hell I did.

          1. Most of your neighbors did. That’s good enough. Now get in line.

            1. Most of my neighbors who voted did. Big difference.

      4. How can it be a negotiation between me and the unions if I’m not actually involved?

        Yeah, if someone robs me and then takes my money and tries to negotiate the purchase of a used car, I wouldn’t say that they are negotiating on my behalf.

        1. I didn’t say it was your choice. I’m merely implying that they’ve appointed themselves to look out for you. And your children. In secret. The bill for their services is in the mail. Due quarterly.

          1. Yeah, I know what you mean, of course.

        2. Excuse me! They only buy “new.”

      5. Government is just another word for the unsustainable pensions we commit to together.

      6. Negotiating with unions is something we all do together.

      7. You selected an agent (the city council) to negotiate on your behalf.

      8. Question: How can it be a negotiation between me and the unions if I’m not actually involved?

        SOCIAL CONTRACT!

    2. During Monday’s hearing, he provided a blueprint for what he would like to see in the legislation, based on various proposals produced by city officials, the Community Police Commission (CPC) and the court-appointed federal monitor, Merrick Bobb.

      So, a king.. yes, very nice.

      “Black lives matter,” he said, drawing a startled, audible reaction in a courtroom listening to the words coming from a federal judge sitting on the bench.

      At least we know we have an impartial, dispassionate arbiter sitting on the bench.

  4. Thanks, NYT. Only 7 years late to the party.

    Useless fucks.

    1. To be fair, the Times makes an excellent birdcage liner or painting dropcloth, and its crossword puzzle is okay.

    2. Indeed Counselor….

      BTW, I happened to catch your posts over the weekend, whilst I and Dr. ZG were hosting The Groovy Grillout Get-Together and Optional Orgiastic Extravaganza at Fortress Maximus, for our colleagues, WRT Frau Uterus 2016’s (not Merkel) health, and finally got good fotos and video of Shrill-Bot. We, as a group o’ docs, decided to play House, erm…so’s to speak, and derived the following conclusions:

      1) Excellent job identifying the tongue surgery; our in house Oro-Pharyngeal doc got a good view of it, and based on size and time estimations of when it was done, he is quite confident her entire lingual mass was excised and BX taken at the same time. He estimates about a 60% chance it’s malignant (it’s the HX of coughing that’s remarkable to him). And that hole is quite sizeable.

      2) I want to comment Hyperion, lap83, and GILMOUR(tm) for their DDX of poss. seizure. It ain’t a seizure (excellent job, GILMOUR – it’s all in the eyes), and while it does mimic an atypical absence seizure, we were in 100% agreement she has a HX of syncopal episodes. Meaning, her problem is vascular, not neural. Whether she has these before her CVA is unknown.

      3) All of us agree her Dr. is not reporting her entire medical HX, and in particular, her current med list. Biggest red flag for us, as a group, is her fairly rapid weight gain in the last year, and noted HX of falls.

      1. Thanks, Doc. Its hard to keep up with questions, etc. in threads as they fall down the screen.

      2. Shades of Dr. McIntire:
        “Yet even after FDR’s death, Roosevelt’s personal physician, Admiral Dr. Ross McIntire wrote that “FDR’s blood pressure and heart signs have been normal.”
        http://www.hektoeninternationa…..Itemid=566

        1. And they were normal.

          For a dead guy.

          1. “Pulse….0. Blood Pressure 0/0….yup, all normal!”

    3. “..commend Hyperion, lap83, and GILMOUR(tm)”

      Also:

      4) It’s never lupus.

      1. Thanks! Although considering my slight knowledge is based on witnessing family or friends have seizures, I can’t feel that good about myself. The experience is a downer, to say the least.

    4. They are hedging their bets against Trump. See if Trump wins they will suddenly become very concerned about regulatory over reach. Especially if Trump were to win but Team Blue took the Senate.

    5. Only 7 years late to the party.

      They’re just starting to get nervous that maybe the big meanie blowhard talking hairpiece might be the next president. Then they’ll suddenly discover that maybe expanded executive power isn’t such a good thing after all.

  5. So, it’s a good thing that we now allow people with HIV to travel freely into the United States? Hmm…I guess that will kill off some breeders. I assume these people with travel restrictions to come here due to having HIV are citizens?

    Oh, no, you’re just talking about importing disease. Cool! Lets get some Malaria, Small Pox, and…lets see…Ziki/Ebola going while we’re at it. After all, there are too many people on Earth right? That’s what we’re going for, yes?

    1. Supposedly, the one thing even open borders folks agree on is that communicable disease should be a valid reason for barring someone from entering the US.

      1. But that doesn’t mean that it is always reasonable. In the case of HIV, which is very difficult to give to someone accidentally if you know you have it, I don’t think that infected tourists are a major public heath concern. It’s not going to lead to a major outbreak or significantly more infections.

        1. In the case of HIV, which is very difficult to give to someone accidentally if you know you have it,

          True enough, assuming the diseased person can be trusted to act responsibly. But, it completely overlooks the cost of treating it, to which the state is exposed.

        2. I don’t think that infected tourists are a major public heath concern. It’s not going to lead to a major outbreak or significantly more infections.

          EUR in toto, UKR and RUS, in particular, disagree Zeb. Taking in so many migrants from Africa has caused HIV cases to shoot through the roof in the last five years. A major problem is med compliance and observing strict safe sex practices (read: barrier protection).

          You are also assuming an infected (or likely infected) person is going to give two fucks whether or not he or she infects someone. Most don’t and either only care about money or their self-centred gratification regardless of risk. And yes, I support keeping out infected people. No exceptions.

          Every single EU country, and non-EU country in EUR and Asia requires proof of a clean bill of health to enter and stay, and HIV is specifically mentioned in every one of them.

          1. There’s that, I guess. I was thinking mostly of tourists, but economic migrants and refugees may well be a whole different story.

            Deep down in my anarchistic nature, I don’t think borders should be a thing at all. But reasonable discussions about this sort of thing are something that has to happen. In the case of people who want to immigrate for the longer term, perhaps testing and exclusion of some people would be reasonable.

      2. Socialism is a communicable disease.

        1. And one that’s spreading across America faster than “The Strain”.

    2. Unless they are going to start testing for HIV at the border, I assume that the people who would be truthful about it are going to also be the people who will be responsible about avoiding giving it to other people.

      1. Absolutely a fair judgment; although when was the last time the FedGov got rid of a requirement just because it was impossible to enforce?

      2. Except for Canada and Mexico, it would be pretty easy to say “You can’t get on this plane or boat without a notarized clean bill of health.”

        I don’t know that that would actually do anything, but that is one tack.

  6. I find it hard to believe that dipshit was ever “skeptical” of executive power; just its “misuse” by the wrong sort of President.

  7. The Times piece operates on the assumption that Obama’s intentions are honorable, and that his regulation expansion is literally (and the story literally uses the word “literally”) about placing a “higher value on human life.”

    Obama is literally America’s mother.

    When I was a young journalist I was taught that if you ended a story with a quote, you were?deliberately or subconsciously?telling the reader what they should take away from the piece

    “Shackleton Annihilates New York Times”

    1. his regulation expansion is literally (and the story literally uses the word “literally”) about placing a “higher value on human life.”

      An interesting conclusion, considering that the vast majority of those regulations aren’t even nominally “health and safety” regulations.

    2. Obama is literally America’s mother.

      And literally founded ISIS. /sarc

      Does that mean he’s Malorie Archer and we’re all Sterling Archer?

  8. The Times piece operates on the assumption that Obama’s intentions are honorable

    I never saw that coming.

    1. Once in a great while they depart from their usual, “we always put a gimlet eye on the Democrats motives” position!

  9. What does it say when the last word goes to the campaign chairman for one candidate essentially suggesting that they’re going to continue Obama’s tactics? That depends on what you think of the regulations Obama has passed.

    Considering how hard those motherfuckers have been beating the “obstructionist Republicans!” drum, I have an inkling of a suspicion.

  10. The story discusses a decision by the Department of Transportation to increase the estimated “value” of preventing a human’s death from $6.6 million to $9.4 million and how that calculation was used to demand all sorts of additional safety regulations.

    Is there some more background somewhere on how these things are determined? I can’t really see any reason to assume a priori that 6.6 mil is a better figure than 9.4, but the cynic in me expects that this change is entirely about juking the numbers to mask the costs of the regulations, so I’m interested in what goes into such a decision.

    1. I wonder if they net out the cost of Social Security and Medicare for someone who lives to a normal lifespan. Seems like they should, if we really have our green eyeshades on and our pencils nice and sharp, but I doubt they do.

    2. Here is a .pdf copy of the dept. of transportaion’s memo that increased the VSL (Value of Statistical Life) from 6.6 to 9.4 million. The criteria they used to arrive at that number is explained in the memo, the calculations themselves can be found on pages 6-8.

      1. An 11-page document with footnotes is not a memo even if you call it one.

      2. The “formula” basically amounts to VSL = VSL + 1. That might be valid for computer programming but it ain’t valid for mathematics.

        So, 3 pages of bullshit to obfuscate the fact that they just made up the numbers.

        1. Isn’t all this stuff negotiated by lawyers? And being negotiated by lawyers, isn’t the starting point arbitrary, followed by a lot of arguing, adding and haggling to arrive at further arbitrary numbers, but numbers both sides are happy with?

          1. numbers both sides are happy with?

            The main number both sides need to be happy with is, of course, their billable hours.

      3. … they printed it out and scanned it to make the PDF.

        In 2014.

        I guess I should be more surprised that it wasn’t faxed in between.

      4. So basically, they averaged a bunch of studies that said it was $4-7 million around the turn of the century, and then inflation-adjusted them. Yikes. Not saying they shouldn’t adjust for inflation, but 2/3 of their sample was specific to the years 1998-2000. They probably should have commissioned studies for this decade instead.

  11. Question: How can it be a negotiation between me and the unions if I’m not actually involved?

    One of the lesser known synonyms for “negotiation” is “collusion”.

  12. New York Times’ Analysis of ‘The Obama Era’ Focuses on All Those Oppressive New Rules

    I’m assuming, since I haven’t read the NYT piece (cuz reeding iz 4 faggits) that they’re saying that’s a good thing though.

    1. The Times piece operates on the assumption that Obama’s intentions are honorable, and that his regulation expansion is literally (and the story literally uses the word “literally”) about placing a “higher value on human life.” …

      The story does not ignore that these regulations have had added major costs to businesses and consumers, though it does not seem interested in exploring how that can ultimately bounce back and harm the people the administration seems to think its regulations are helping.

      I called it. Predictable lefty hacks are predictable.

  13. The power of the Executive branch is why everyone has tds.

    1. Basically.

  14. Now I’m thinking about the most recent thing I passed. I wish it was something more interesting, but let’s be honest, it was poop.

  15. Obama exits the office in style (52% approval rating!) while the worst parts of his policies which he so skillfully delayed will fall right onto Clinton’s lap.

    The smoothest POTUS of our lifetime spent hours on the golf course and his wife went on posh vacations out of country. Meanwhile, did he ever visit dozens of poverty stricken black communities? Other than campaign related stops?

    Obama is a credit to identity politics, servile media and wealthy white progressives. As far as I’m concerned, 8 years of his presidency was as reckless and irresponsible as a potential Trump presidency. Do Trump detractors realize that he bombed nations with zero congressional approval?

  16. How you feel about continuing Obama’s practice of ruling through Executive Order and Regulation should have little to do with how you feel about the results! SOME of these regulations are extra-constitutional in that they aren’t instructions on how to apply the law, they are instructions on ignoring or rewriting law without congressional input. We need a president who will follow the constitution.

  17. What bugs me the most is the short-sightedness of it all, the article, Obama, and the comments. There’s a vague awareness that Executive power has been strengthened under Obama, which most of the commentors applaud. Yet, as the article hints, if Trump were to enter the White House, Obama has done a banged-up job for weakening some of the checks and balances that would contain Trump’s damage.

    Obama is pouring everything into helping Clinton win to preserve his legacy. Does he understand or acknowledge that if Trump wins, he’ll be partially responsible for the additional power Trump will have?

    1. No, because Hillary winning is a foregone conclusion to Democrats.

  18. King Obama’s legacy – unjustified wars and constant attacks on the US Constitution and individual liberty.

    He is the very worst president of at least the modern era.
    Much worse than LBJ and Nixon combined.
    A pox on him and his defenders.

  19. Molly . I can see what your saying… Samuel `s c0mment is unimaginable… last monday I got a great new Infiniti after bringing in $6142 this past month and-also, $10k lass month . without a question it is the most comfortable work I’ve had . I began this 5 months ago and straight away began to make over $81 p/h

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

  20. Christopher . if you, thought Maria `s postlng is astonishing… on thursday I got a gorgeous Honda NSX from having made $8819 this-past/5 weeks and-more than, $10 thousand this past munth . without a doubt it is the nicest work Ive had . I started this 8-months ago and pretty much immediately startad bringin home at least $78.
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

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