I've been interacting with companies large and small for over 20 years now, but the first time I ever heard a company say, "We won't even consider putting a major plant in the US" came about six months ago. When asked why, the response was the permit process is arbitrary. Not that the permit process was long, or arduous, or complex or difficult. It was arbitrary.
I don't blame this on Obama, or the Democrats. This is a bipartisan failing. We scratch our heads and wonder why is this recovery slower than the previous recovery; and why was that recovery slower than the recovery it followed and why was that recovery slower than previous recoveries? In fact, why are the three slowest recoveries post WWII the last three? What has changed, or is changing?
Is it possible it has become too difficult for businesses to expand and ideas to turn into businesses? Is it possible the vast regulatory state has become too arbitrary?
Is the lesson of the IRS one of squelching speech AND an example of an arbitrary regulatory state squelching economic activity?
Richard Epstein and John Cochrane have thoughts along this line.