Obama Orders Review of Federal Business Regulations

President Barack Obama said he will order an overhaul of U.S. business regulations in a bid to cut unnecessary red tape and improve consumer protection.

In an opinion piece in today'sWall Street Journal, Obama said the overhaul will address issues such as the need for new safety rules for infant formula and a faster procedure for approving new medical devices.

Obama will sign the executive order today.

"This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth," Obama wrote. "It orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive."

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Obama's critics have long said that activist government and the burden of excessive regulation are preventing U.S. companies from creating jobs and handing the economic advantage to competitors such as China.

The President defended the role of regulation in his opinion piece, saying that smart rules are vital to protecting the public interest and promoting economic growth.

"Throughout our history, one of the reasons the free market has worked is that we have sought the proper balance," Obama said. "We have preserved freedom of commerce while applying those rules and regulations necessary to protect the public."

Obama highlighted the financial crisis as an example of a time when a lack of regulation had almost led to economic disaster.

"There, a lack of proper oversight and transparency nearly led to the collapse of the financial markets and a full-scale Depression," Obama wrote.

Obama's recent appointment of William Daley, a former JPMorgan Chase (JPM) executive, as his chief of staff was seen by many as an attempt to improve relations with the business community. Many businesses opposed Obama's healthcare reform bill as well as the financial reform bill.

Last month, Obama met with top executives from companies including Google (GOOG), General Electric (GE) and Comcast (CMCSA) to discuss ways to create jobs.

The regulatory overhaul will help reduce the burden on small businesses and help them to create jobs, Obama wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country. We need to make sure nothing stands in their way."