Rep. Issa: $35M "Small Business" Is Struggling Under Burdensome Regulations

October 19, 2011 3:07 pm ET — Brian Powell

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been waging a war on environmental standards, workplace safety laws and consumer protections since becoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee. In one effort to humanize the deregulation movement, Issa's committee highlights the plight of business owners who they claim are "trying to create jobs but [are] struggling under the growing weight of federal government regulations."

In the past, the committee has highlighted big Republican campaign contributors. This week, they've published a heart-wrenching story about a family farm in the lurch — barely able to survive under the oppressive weight of the Endangered Species Act and "81,205 pages of federal government regulations."

Issa's besieged would-be job creator is Deardorff Family Farms in Oxnard, California. Deardorff is an organic fruits and vegetable farm that has been in business since 1937. But as Issa's story warns, Deardorff's very existence is in peril, because "meddling from the bureaucrats enforcing federal government regulations erodes the economic freedom and predictability on which Mr. Deardorff's great-grandfather built the farm."

A quick glance at reality, however, tells a different story. Despite the "explosion of federal regulations under President Obama," Deardorff actually seems to be doing all right. In fact, according to its website, Deardorff is doubling its capacity as we speak and expanding its business with a $10 million new building scheduled for completion in early 2012. And according to the Ventura County Star, Deardorff Farms grossed a healthy $35 million last year.

You'd never know that from reading the Oversight Committee's press release. According to the committee, things appear to be so bad for the "small business" that Team Oversight wonders why Deardorff doesn't just give up and go home:

Agriculture is already a fragile industry. In 2009, America's median farm income barely cracked $50,000. But the explosion of federal regulations under President Obama is making survival that much harder: 660,900 small businesses - from family farms to auto repair shops - closed in 2009. That year, the Obama Administration proposed 2,044 new regulations. In 2010, proposed federal regulations jumped to 2,439. [...]

So why doesn't Deardorff give up in the face of the swelling tide of federal government regulations? The farming culture and the satisfaction of delivering healthy produce to American dinner tables.

"The people that do stick with it, they're the salt of the earth kind of people. That's one of the big attractors for me," said [Tom Deardorff II]. "The second is really just the lifestyle. It's promoting nutrition. It's promoting America. It's being a big bowl in the whole food industry and sustaining, not only current generations, but protecting resources for future generations too."

The growing Obama regulatory burden hits all American job creators, but hits small businesses like Deardorff Family Farms the hardest.

Yet another swing and a miss for Issa's credibility.

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