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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter Issue 2013 / VOL 36 / NO.1


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”. “REGULATORY CLIFF” IS ANOTHER CHALLENGE FACING DISTRIBUTORS As the campaign season culminated with President Obama’s re-election the nation’s attention shifted to how or if we can avoid the upcoming “fiscal cliff” as tax cuts are set to expire and certain budget expenditures run into a pre-ordained legislative wall. But this is not the only precipice we are facing. Some business observers, particularly among small businesses, are just as worried about a spate of regulatory measures which have been scheduled for implementation and the effect they will have on our hoped for economic recovery. This “regulatory cliff” may be just as perilous for business as the “fiscal one” that has been getting so much press. Distribution companies are not immune from these worries. Just as tax and budget issues have placed a “hold” on expansion and hiring plans of many enterprises, so too has the prospect of more government rules and restrictions caused some businesses to delay projects or growth until the impact and extent of the regulatory burden is clear. How will the newly elected Congress approach regulatory relief Will the President view the election results as a mandate to continue to re-make our society and economy with more, rather than fewer, rules governing business What can small businesses expect from the people running federal agencies During the October Town Hall Debate, presidential candidate Mitt Romney charged that the federal regulations enacted during the past four years had “quadrupeled.” While some critics argue that was not the case it was correct if we take into account those regulations that are “economically significant”, that is, those with a cost estimate of 0 million dollars or higher. Thus we have faced, as the United States Chamber of Commerce described it, a “tsunami” of new regulations since 2010. Trade associations of various industries and of the business community as a whole (The Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Wholesaler- Distributors, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the National Association of Manufacturers and many others) will be watching the daily Federal Register to see what new rules are handed down daily and will be ready to respond within the allotted comment periods. But there are some regulations which the Obama Administration has been pushing which are near fruition already and which may well pack substantial costs or create impediments to growth. The Environmental Protection Agency alone has hundreds of proposed rules in the pipeline heading for implementation. Among those that could be pushed in the weeks to come are an Ozone Rule that would impose limits so strict that the majority of businesses in the United States might well find themselves in violation. Its enactment could well result in multiple billions of dollars of retrofitting and equipment replacement. The EPA is also near putting into play new particulate matter standards that will lead to a lot of confusion. Eyes will also be on the Labor Department and, specifically, the National Labor Relations Board which throughout the last four years has had a history of trying to implement measures unilaterally which would tilt the balance of labor relations in favor of the Unions. The President’s appointees have made no secret of their biased viewpoint as they have moved quickly to follow their agenda. please turn to page 104


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