8 years ago


Distributor's Link Magazine Summer Issue 2012 / VOL 35 / NO.3


30 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Jim Truesdell James Truesdell is president of Brauer Supply Company, a distributor of specialty fasteners, insulation, air filtration, and air conditioning with headquarters in St. Louis. Mr. Truesdell is adjunct professor at Saint Louis University and Webster University. An attorney and frequently published writer, he is the author of “Total Quality Management: Reports From the Front Lines”. REGULATION THREATENS TO CHOKE THE RECOVERY FOR SMALL BUSINESS Once upon a time, the country was caught up in a mad dash to regulate every aspect of business, large and small. The idealism of the 60's had led large parts of the populace to believe that government could solve all of our problems and that we could banish evil, save the planet, and conquer poverty by creating administrative agencies and giving them free hand to make rules, demand reporting, and restrict entrepreneur's freedom to operate their businesses efficiently. Under President Carter there were large numbers of massive regulatory schemes being promoted by the political allies of that idealistic but not necessarily big government oriented president. While he wrestled with 13 per cent mortgage rates and problems in the economy and foreign relations, his colleagues in the congress and agency appointees pursued their own agendas of building a bureaucratic infrastructure. Distributors and other small businesses and their associations fought hard to blunt these initiatives. The proposals would have tied the country up for years of no growth. This all came abruptly to a stop however when the electorate spoke up against big government. The Reagan years brought a halt to this trend and, ever since, politicians of both parties have campaigned on the idea that less regulation is good for everybody, especially the small businesses which provide a good part of the jobs in America. Now, the National Association of Wholesaler- Distributors and organizations like the National Federation of Independent Business and the US Chamber of Commerce are again sounding the alarm. Plans have either been implemented are or underway to impose a new raft of burdensome rules and reporting on the business community. Under the guise of responding to public outrage over the financial shenanigans of Wall Street and the failings of the banking and lending community the anti-business forces are crafting regulations and implementing new rules in agency after agency-the NLRB, the EPA, OSHA, DOT and many others. Many of these are being implementing in end runs around the congress, denying the legitimate checks and balances which should be preventing unilateral actions by the Executive branch. In response to this escalating threat, NAW and its allies are working through the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. They have reorganized this group, which was originally constituted to halt the proposed "card check" legislation that would have made it easier for unions to organize small business workforces. The Coalition has retained counsel to follow the regulatory agenda of the Administration and file "friend of the court" briefs in lawsuits attempting to fight burdensome regulation and to also produce comments in the rulemaking process when the interest of small businesses requires it. It is interesting that both presidential candidates, at least on the surface, seem to be presenting themselves as anti-regulation reformists. On May 10, President Obama announced that his Administration had changed or eliminated five regulations which they claimed would save six billion dollars for the economy. He also signed a new executive order "making it a continuing obligation of our government to scrutinize rules on the books to see if they really make sense," according to a White House statement. please turn to page 151

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