Jeb Bush and the Special Interests He Serves

On Wednesday, an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “How I’ll Slash the Regulation Tax,” argued that President Obama was hurting the economy through excessive regulation. The article was primarily based on research conducted by the American Action Forum, a right-wing think tank closely associated with the American Action Network and its Big Business patrons.

But the author wasn’t the American Action Forum…or the Chamber of Commerce…or any other “pro-business” group. The author was Jeb Bush.

Citing a World Bank statistic that the United States ranks 46th in the world on ease of starting a business, Bush calls Obama’s handling of the economy “unacceptable.”

What Bush fails to mention is that starting a business was just one of ten inputs into a broader measure of “ease of doing business,” and that, according to that very study, the U.S. ranks seventh out of 186 countries.

Not too shabby.

From protecting small business from over-regulation, Bush leapfrogs to declaring all-out war on environmental protection, access to the internet, financial reform and “ObamaCare” – otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act – and on “liberals and regulators” generally. (Ouch, TDV is liberal!).

Bush writes:

As early as possible, I promise to roll back many of the most reckless and damaging rules promulgated under President Obama. As president, I will repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule extending federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act over millions of acres of private land, its new regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Power Plan, and its new and costly coal-ash standards for power plants. I will also work to repeal the so-called net-neutrality rule forced on the Federal Communications Commission by the White House and the Department of Education’s “gainful employment” rule that punishes for-profit colleges. That’s for starters.

I will also work with Congress to repeal significant portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, and we will reform the complex set of rules that perpetuate too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Later this fall, I will announce a detailed agenda to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Most people, “liberals” included, agree that there is room for more efficiencies in how the Federal government carries out its regulatory functions.

But what Bush is proposing is an all-out assault on the environment, internet access, affordable health care and banking regulations.

That’s not regulating more efficiently; that’s called promoting the interests of the oil and gas industries, the big internet service providers, the pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and –perhaps worst of all—the financial services industry.

Bush says that “this culture of special interest access is a problem I plan to tackle as President.”

Having special interest groups appear to ghost-write your op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal is not a good start to “tackling special interests.”