will signed today an Executive Order requiring that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth. In an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal, Obama says his Order will seek more affordable, less intrusive means to protect the public interest —giving careful consideration to benefits and costs.
This means writing rules with more input from experts, businesses and ordinary citizens, which I hope includes consumer-business owners. This is the kind of advocacy I have pursued since 2008 when the first draft of new cosmetics legislation was circulated in the US House Energy & Commerce Committee. Of course we'll have to wait and see exactly what the Order says, but there is one huge advocacy point we must remember as we move forward as we move forward as small and independent business owners.
It Starts With Congress
There is no regulation if Congress does not first create a law that empowers the regulator to actually regulate. As a result, not only do we need to look at existing regulations and those coming down the pike, but we also need to give much closer scrutiny to pending bills to make sure that they do not empower the regulator to promulgatge new rules that require absured and unnecessary paperwork, or which are, as Obama says in his opinion piece, “just plain dumb.”
Regulators Can Do Nothing Without Congressional Authority
The regulator does not do anything Congress does not first empower it to to. This makes it critical the we catch any problems while bills are pending, and not after they become law. As we know from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, once a law is passed, it's pretty much impossible to remove regulatory power that has already been granted. Hopefully, the new Executive Order will inject the voice of reason into how the Consumer Product Safety Commission enforces that law. (This post shares the stories of 6 mom-owned businesses that closed as a result of the CPSIA.)
The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010
The new Executive Order could also provide guidance on the most reasoned path concerning HR 5786: The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010, which is still pending. Contrary to erroneous, one-sided reports, the cosmetics industry is already regulated, and it is overwhelmingly safe.
Before passing new legislation that adds more layers of regulation, lawmakers and policymakers should first assess current cosmetics laws in light of Obama's new Executive Order. There is no sense in passing new laws before we, as Obama's opinion piece says, first “root out [existing] regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.”
The Problem Is Not Lack Of Money. It's Too Much Regulation!
You don't have to look far to see what men and women can do with just a few dollars to create a small company that can sustain them and provide a valuable or product service that enhances people's lives. Hundreds of members of IBN are a great place to start to meet them first-hand. You can follow them on Twitter here.
The money we do have is useless if lawmakers, followed by state and federal regulators, pass laws that make it impossible to put those funds to good use.
After two long years of bailing everyone else out, Obama seems to have turned his attention in the direction of real people. Let's see what he does next, and how we can help him and his administration do right by America's smallest companies.
As a small business advocate and the leader of a national trade organization, this is the best possible news to wake up to.
I look forward to reading the new Executive Order, and You can read Obama's new Executive Order here. I will keep you posted.
You can read Obama's opinion piece in Today's Wall Street Journal at this link.
Question: Do you think this news is as potentially exciting as I do?