BUSINESS
10/26/2011 02:24 pm ET | Updated Dec 26, 2011

Obama Has Approved Fewer Regulations Than Bush Up To This Point, Analysis Finds

President Barack Obama has signed fewer regulations than President George W. Bush had at this point in his presidency, but it's putting a bigger dent into the wallets of the effected.

Obama has approved 4.7 percent fewer rules than Bush had at the same point in his presidency, but they cost businesses more, according to a Bloomberg News analysis. Obama's regulations are expected to cost businesses between $100 million and $4.1 billion more than Bush's, Bloomberg finds. Still, neither president's rules have cost as much as the annual high the costs of the elder Bush's regulations hit in 1992.

As politicians wrangle over the best way to boost hiring and spur economic growth, Republicans have been critical of what they view as excessive regulations. Treasury Department officials, though, wrote in a blog post earlier this week that the data doesn't support the idea that over-regulation is holding businesses back.

The findings mirror those of a World Bank study, which found that the U.S. is one of the top five countries with the most business-friendly regulations. American regulations are more business-friendly than those of all the countries Europe and a variety of other countries worldwide, according to the report.

Even though America's rules are more business-friendly than most countries, they're still not friendly enough for many Americans. More small business owners ranked government regulations as their top problem than picked any other issue, a recent Gallup poll found. Seventy-Five percent of U.S. voters said businesses are over-regulated, pushing jobs overseas, another survey from the Tarrance Group found last month.

Republicans have proposed curbing regulations as one way to boost hiring, after rejecting Obama's $447 billion jobs plan earlier this month. Progressive organizations have been critical of the proposals; GOP leaders are targeting rules governing the transportation of snakes across state lines regulations for workers dealing with lead paint, according to the Center for American Progress. Economist and left-leaning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman claims that the Republican jobs plan is focused on allowing pollution.

Some industries are doing all they can to avoid increased regulations. Venture Capitalists are spending money in an effort to influence lawmakers to ease medical device rules, for example. And the National Association of Manufacturers criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s manufacturing regulations, saying that they cause uncertainty.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses -- a small business advocacy group -- launched a campaign in August aimed at highlighting the impacts of regulations passed by the Obama Administration on small businesses.