Fox is launching a weeklong attack on government regulations, promising to "expose how excessive laws are drowning American businesses" - a message that coincides with a Republican push to focus on deregulation. But economists say that regulations are not harming businesses and that there is little evidence that regulations kill jobs.
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As GOP Begins Push To Roll Back Regulations ...
AP: "The House Republican Agenda This Fall Will Focus On Repealing Environmental And Labor Regulations." On August 29, the Associated Press reported that repealing regulations would be a priority for the Republican Party:
The House Republican agenda this fall will focus on repealing environmental and labor regulations that GOP lawmakers say are driving up the cost of doing business and discouraging employers from hiring new workers.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., says in a memo to his fellow Republicans that as soon as Congress returns to Washington next week he will start bringing up bills to repeal or restrict federal regulations. He also said the House would also act on a small business tax deduction.
The memo was released Monday.
The GOP approach to job creation comes as President Barack Obama prepares to announce after Labor Day a broad jobs package expected to include tax cuts, infrastructure projects and help for the unemployed.
"By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations, we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers," Cantor said in his memo.
He said that in the first week after Congress returns from its August recess the House will vote on a bill preventing the National Labor Relations Board from restricting where an employer can locate in the United States. [Associated Press, 8/29/11]
... Fox News Launches Weeklong Attack On Government Regulations
Fox News: "Regulation Nation" Programming Will "Expose How Excessive Laws Are Drowning American Businesses." From an ad for Fox's weeklong series Regulation Nation:
VOICEOVER: Tying companies into knots. Creating a maze of paperwork. Spinning a web of rules and red tape. Killing jobs. Government regulations. We expose how excessive laws are drowning American businesses. Regulation Nation. All next week on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. [Fox News, 9/6/11]
But Business Owners And Economists Say Regulations Are Not Hurting Business
Survey Of Business Economists: Vast Majority Of Respondents Feel Current Regulatory Environment Is "Good" For Business. From the National Association for Business Economics' (NABE) August 2011 Economic Policy Survey:
Regulatory activity has gained a lot of attention, with many groups suggesting that American businesses are overregulated by the current administration. With that said, 80 percent of survey respondents felt that the current regulatory environment was "good" for American businesses and the overall economy. [National Association for Business Economics, August 2011]
Small Business Owners Say Regulation Is Not Harmful To Them. McClatchy surveyed a sample of small business owners, and reported its findings that many business owners actually welcome regulations:
Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation.
"Government regulations are not 'choking' our business, the hospitality business," Bernard Wolfson, the president of Hospitality Operations in Miami, told The Miami Herald. "In order to do business in today's environment, government regulations are necessary and we must deal with them. The health and safety of our guests depend on regulations. It is the government regulations that help keep things in order."
McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business.
Their response was surprising.
None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath. [McClatchy Newspapers, 9/1/11]
In Fact, Economists Say That A Lack Of Demand -- Not Regulation -- Is The Top Drag On Employment Growth
WSJ: "The Main Reason U.S. Companies Are Reluctant To Step Up Hiring Is Scant Demand." The Wall Street Journal reported:
The main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists in a new Wall Street Journal survey.
"There is no demand," said Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics. "Businesses aren't confident enough, and the longer this goes on the harder it is to convince them that they should be."
In the survey, conducted July 8-13 and released Monday, 53 economists--not all of whom answer every question--were asked the main reason employers aren't hiring more readily. Of the 51 who responded to the question, 31 cited lack of demand (65%) and 14 (27%) cited uncertainty about government policy. The others said hiring overseas was more appealing.
Some executives echoed the survey's central finding. [The Wall Street Journal, 7/18/11]
And There Is Little Evidence That Regulations Kill Jobs
EPI: "Review Of The Studies Of Regulations In Place Finds Little Evidence Of Significant Negative Effects On Employment." The Economic Policy Institute reviewed studies measuring the effects of regulations on mass layoffs. EPI concluded:
An emphasis on deregulation can contribute to enormous economic dislocation, and this review of the studies of regulations in place finds little evidence of significant negative effects on employment. Overall, the picture that emerges from this review is a positive one. For decades, regulations have generally and consistently struck a reasonable balance, with their benefits to health, safety, and well-being far exceeding their costs. [Economic Policy Institute, 4/12/11]
Economists Found Little Evidence That Environmental Regulation Sends Jobs Overseas. From the Center for Progressive Reform's white paper on regulation:
Another alleged impact of regulation is that it drives companies to transfer manufacturing overseas in order to remain competitive in international markets, which causes job losses at home. Economists have attempted to confirm that businesses flee to "pollution havens" to avoid domestic environmental regulation, but it is difficult to isolate this reason for moving manufacturing overseas from other factors, such as the availability of natural resources, new markets, and the supply and cost of local employees. The studies summarized in Table 8 indicate what economists have found:
[Center for Progressive Reform, July 2011]