President Obama wants America to know he is a pro-business president.
In an op-ed in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, the president promised to sign an executive order to root out "dumb" and "outdated" regulations that "stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive."
"This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth," Obama writes. "And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.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."
Still, he made sure to note that this doesn't erase the need for new regulations. "Where necessary, we won't shy away from addressing obvious gaps: new safety rules for infant formula; procedures to stop preventable infections in hospitals; efforts to target chronic violators of workplace safety laws," he says, and then adds: "But 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 gives saccharin -- an artificial sweetener -- as an example. While many Americans use it in their coffee, the EPA requires companies to treat it as hazardous waste. Not any more.
He concludes his op-ed with a final decree: "We're also getting rid of absurd and unnecessary paperwork requirements that waste time and money."
"We're looking at the system as a whole to make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation," he writes in sum. "And finally, today I am directing federal agencies to do more to account for—and reduce—the burdens regulations may place on small businesses. Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country. We need to make sure nothing stands in their way."