And beyond regulations, there is an overbearing culture of blame big business (even if the business in question isn't really that big). Law suits for trumped up environmental claims with slim evidence put before a jury that can't see past the hand picked group of three people with some horrific debilitating disease, attributed but not nearly proven to be because of business activities. Multi-million (sometimes hundred million) judgement. Don't want to risk getting a jury that's swayed by the violins played by a crafty plantiff's attourney? Settle for millions and still get put near ruin. Not providing good enough (by some connected advocate group's estimation) health care? Pickets, regulations, hearings, protests, boycotts. Not providing enough pay (by a few's estimation)? Unions, card check, NLRB effectively vetoing your ownership's/board's decisions, protests, boycotts. Didn't pay enough lipservice at the town hall meeting where you and your "kind" were being brow beaten (perhaps directly, perhaps by proxy)? Protests, boycotts, bad editorials, local permitting office issues, local zoning board issues. Offering health insurance that's too good? Obamacare taxes the living snot out of you for offering it (afterall, if you can afford top flight insurance for your people, you can spread a little wealth to the government for everyone else, right?), thus all but forcing you to offer less generous coverage to your employees. Bad press, protests, employee discontent, unions, card check, etc. Can't afford to keep offering health insurance? Not on Obama's good side, no waiver for you, bad press, unions, protests, card check, etc.
And keep in mind, salary is not the gross number on the paycheck. It is health care premiums covered by the employer. Unemployment insurance. Workers comp insurance. Accidental death/dismemberment insurance. Liability insurance premiums. Training costs (those are skills the employee gets, remember). Employer paid FICA and Medicare components. On a relatively low pay job, say $25-50k/yr, those additional costs can easily total up to 30% or more additional cost for the employer. Not to mention regulatory fees, some of which area assessed on a per employee basis, I would assume, in a mining type operation. Special equipment costs. and on and on.
Some regulations are the result of bad business practices in the past. Many, particularly those instituted in the past 10-20 years, are overbearing and used as means to extract penance for false evils or evils never once committed by the payee. In many ways we've reached the point of diminishing returns when it comes to regulation, they are costing businesses more and more to get less and less benefits. Clean water is a prime example of this. Not to long ago there was a proposal to limit some compound -- benzene, lead, mercury, something -- to some infinitesimal amount. It would have costs hundreds of millions if not billions for industry and states/cities to meed the standard and in the end the benefit was nill because the existing regulatory level for the compound was already well below levels needed to keep it from becoming a harm to people or the environment.
More recently, we have CO2 regulation attempts and proposals that would "necessarily" make energy costs "skyrocket", all based on global climate change paranioa and the highly dubious "science" proponents of such regulation use. Yet today, in a continuing stream of scientific news undercutting global warming theory, we have undeniable evidence of direct measurement of atmospheric heat loss over the past decade (and another proxy study covering mid 80s' through 90's) that give clear evidence that the planet it releasing far more heat than global warming theory says should be the case. All the "models" used to trump up catastrophic global warming are failing to produce results that measure up to recorded facts over the past few decades. Yet we are going to saddle the transportation and energy businesses (and thus all the customers, ie. you and me) with onerous regulations that attempt to fix a purported problem that is so poorly understood scientifically that we can't even get right the very basics of X amount of CO2 equals Y amount of change in temperatures and Z amount of radiative loss from the atmosphere. But the science is settled, and polar bears are drowning, and kids are crying from school to their parents arms as they scream "We have to save the planet, Knut is going to die".
Too out there for ya? Hydrofracking and all the trumped up bullshit surrounding that long used technology to get at clean burning natural gas reserves. PG&E and the whole Brockovich case. Turns out, the settled science in that case that resulted in a record breaking judgement, for the time, was completely wrong. The jury got it wrong. The defense got it wrong. And who knows what regulations were put in place after that that are completely or mostly unnecessary?
My guess is we're going to be seeing more and more business owners "going Galt". Maybe not for the purposes Galt did in Atlas Shrugged, but for the simpler, more universal reason of not wanting (or being able) to put up with it all anymore.