Regulations Create Jobs - Lots of Them!

Republicans love to say that regulations kill jobs and destroy the economy.

That’s the meme they used to oppose Obamacare, it’s how they attacked the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, and it’s how they frame every argument against common sense environmental laws.

I hear it every day on my radio program and I see it every day on this TV show. The way Republicans put it, Washington bureaucrats don’t know anything about the economy, and whenever they try to make things better, they end up making things worse. But in reality, regulations are usually NOT the job-killers Republicans and Big Business say they are. If anything, good regulations actual create jobs and boost the economy.

Case in point: President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon pollution in the U.S. by 30 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

Ever since it was announced last June, the Clean Power Plan has come under attack from Republicans around the country and the fossil fuel industry that supports them. They’ve called it everything from a costly disaster to a job-killing attack on the coal industry and an unconstitutional power grab.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has led the charge, writing in a recent piece for the Lexington Herald Leader that, “The regulation is unfair. It’s probably illegal… [a]nd in Kentucky, the regulation would likely… throw countless out of work.”

The legal arguments against the Clean Power Plan don’t really hold much muster, especially now that the D.C. Circuit Court has thrown out the main case against it. But because right-wing talking points still dominate the media, the "job-killer" argument against the Clean Power Plan is still very persuasive to a lot of people.

But here’s the thing: that argument is a lie.

Sure, clamping down on coal-fueled power plants will lead to job losses in the handful of states whose economies depend on the coal industry, but in the long run the Clean Power Plan will actually create jobs.

Yes, you heard that right: Obama’s so-called “War on Coal” will actually create jobs, hundreds of thousands of them, in fact.

A new report out this week from the Economic Policy Institute has found that “the CPP [Clean Power Plan] is likely to lead to a net increase of roughly 360,000 jobs in 2020.”

Those job numbers will start to taper off after 2020, but still, this is the exact opposite of the disaster scenario that Republicans say will come about if we regulate carbon pollution. And it doesn’t even begin to take into account all the positive externalities that will come about from having less toxic greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.

A healthier climate means a healthier workforce that will live longer, work harder, and be less dependent on those handouts conservatives are always complaining about because fewer people will get sick from pollution.

This is what Republicans don’t get about regulations - or pretend not to get to satisfy the fossil fuel industry that funds them.

These regulations are not about “punishing job-creators,” they’re about streamlining the rules of the game and improving the market so that everyone -- not just the rich and powerful – can benefit.

And here’s the flip-side of the situation: de-regulation has arguably done far more harm to our economy than any poorly-thought-out EPA rule ever has.

When Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, one of the most effective regulations in American history, that gave companies free reign to go crazy with mergers and acquisitions, hemorrhaging millions of jobs in the process.

Pfizer alone has cut 56,000 jobs since 2005 in its quest to gobble up all its Big Pharma rivals.

So-called free trade deals like NAFTA are another example of the de-regulation craze run amok.

When NAFTA first came on to the scene in the early 90s, its supporters said it would revolutionize the economy and create 170,000 jobs in just the first two years.

But two decades later, it’s left us with nothing more than a net loss of over one million American jobs, a trade deficit of $177 billion with NAFTA countries, and a 12.2 percent decline in middle class wages.

And let’s not forget the deregulation of Wall Street, which started under Reagan and reached its peak when Bill Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act. This led directly to the crash of 2008, the loss of over 8 million jobs, and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

So, the next time one of your Republican friends talks about how great de-regulation is, remind them of all the damage it’s caused this country over the years.

And while you’re at it, remind them of all the jobs smart, well-thought-out regulations have created.

Comments

jason13's picture
jason13 7 years 41 weeks ago
#1

Funny how the same party that pushes this "global warming/ climate change" agenda is the same party that sent jobs to 3rd world countries knowing the corporations would take advantage of the lack of environmental protection laws ( via; NAFTA and now TPP). At the same time they use government agencies like the EPA to shut down the remaining businesses left. This doesn't make sense if your trying to "save" the world... it only makes sense if your trying to de-industrialize the country to bring it down to a global level.

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 41 weeks ago
#2

Politicians who get campaign donations from business will support what business wants regardless of how what business wants will hurt others because they want those campaign contributions again when they run for re-election.

It's like

Business donor: Hey, my political slave! These regulations that say I must contain and store my company's hazardous waste in a way that it may never contaminate anyone or the environment is costing me money. See what you can do get rid of these regulations.

Political slave (bought & paid for politician) : Yes, sir I'll do every thing I can to help.

A month later, congress, Washington DC

Political slave: I propose to do away with these EPA regulations because it costs the hard working taxpayers of this great nation way too much money and do nothing to help them.

Two months later at a campaign rally

I'm a God fearing, gun loving, pro-choice American and I need your vote so I can go back to Washington and break down the beurocrocy of over-regulation that's costing you, the taxpayer and consumer your hard earned money.

a week later

Business doner to political slave: I heard what you proposed in Washington and I heard your speech last week. I'm spending another million on ads to help your re-election.

Ploitical slave: Thank you! Any thing you need, just give me a call.

This is how politics works, It's sad to say.

Remember, there are good reasons for regulations. Regulations keep bad things from happening.

Progressive Republican's picture
Progressive Rep... 7 years 41 weeks ago
#3

Um, no.

First, it ain't funny. What it is, is balderdash.

It's the Democrats that "push[es] this "global warming/climate change" agenda". Conservatives have only recently begun to admit this obvious event, but still claim Man cannot possibly have an effect. Like they did with lead, DDT, chlorofluorocarbons, etc.

It's the Republicans and other conservatives that shipped out our middle class; at taxpayer expense no less. Sure Clinton (Republican lite) signed it, but he also had been told that if he didn't his veto would be overridden and he knew this to be the case.

It still blows my mind that a Rhodes Scholar in economics would buy into such obvious dreck as supply-side economics.

The rest of your posting just sorta goes downhill from there coming off as typical FRWNJ drivel. Try facts next time.

Progressive Republican's picture
Progressive Rep... 7 years 41 weeks ago
#4

Remember when the Orange Man was literally passing out checks from the tobacco lobby on the floor of the House?

Howzabout that letter Issa sent out shortly after being sworn in asking his donors what regulations they wanted to see relaxed or eliminated?

This is why we need public campaign financing.

ChicagoMatt 7 years 41 weeks ago
#5

Obama is missing a great opportunity to turn Kentucky and West Virginia into blue states. Before saying he wants to cut coal consumption, he should say he wants to offer every single coal industry worker a higher-paying, safer, clean energy job. Literally, he could get a list of everyone who works in the coal industry, send them a letter guarenteeing them a job building/maintaining windmills in their own area, and instantly he would have much more support around that part of the country. You have to offer the benefits BEFORE you tell people you're going to try and destroy their way of life.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 41 weeks ago
#6

Chi Matt -- I like your suggestion. It is so sad that Obama is not the dictator that the repugs call him.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 41 weeks ago
#7

Prog rep -- What drivel? Do you not think that the repeal of Glass-Steagal contributed heavily to the crash of 2008? Do you not think the stopping of the enforcement of the Sherman Anti-trust act was a key contributor to the flattening of the median wage for the last 30 years?

For Thom to provide the facts to support those statements would require a book. I think it is called "The Crash of 2016" or maybe "Screwed".

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 41 weeks ago
#8

Prog rep -- What drivel? Do you not think that the repeal of Glass-Steagal contributed heavily to the crash of 2008? Do you not think the stopping of the enforcement of the Sherman Anti-trust act was a key contributor to the flattening of the median wage for the last 30 years?

For Thom to provide the facts to support those statements would require a book. I think it is called "The Crash of 2016" or maybe "Screwed".

jason13's picture
jason13 7 years 41 weeks ago
#9

Reply to #3: Both Bush Sr. and Clinton campaigned supporting NAFTA. Perot was the only one out of the 3 that was against it. TPP has had overwhelming support by Obama ( and Republicans too). These are facts, you can't shift blame to the other side on this one. You make excuse after excuse for your guy like a battered wife does for her husband. Both rebs and dems piss on the constitution in their own ways. This "climate change" agenda is scarier because it's logical conclusion leads to depopulation of the human "germ".

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 41 weeks ago
#10

jason13 -- in #3 he is blaming Obama.

The repugs in the 110th (?) congress filibustered (cloture) tax credits for keeping jobs in USA, for penalizing China for currency manipulation and card check. Card check is highly relevant because every labor union is against the TPP; even the longshoremen who in the short term would benefit. That congress required every republican in order to filibuster a bill. It seems to me, we can blame the republicans solely for our demise.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 7 years 41 weeks ago
#11

Chuckles, it's a good thing there is a Democrat president. He can veto TPP. The Republicans don't have enough votes to override Obamas veto:).

jason13's picture
jason13 7 years 41 weeks ago
#12

Chuckle8: Those tax credits were originally signed in by Clinton and about half the dems in the first place. I'm not arguing that the dems killed the middle class... it's obvious that both parties are contributing from regan's war on unions, clinton's nafta, bush's cafta, and now obama's tpp. I'm pointing out the hypocrisy of sending jobs overseas while regulating jobs out of existence here. And if you think the black jesus really cares than he wouldn't be pushing the tpp so hard and he wouldn't have signed the monsanto protection act either.

I do find the climate change agenda to be very anti-human. I grew up in a little hippy liberal paradise town in southern arizona. I know that many of them who believe in this shit think that humans are a germ on mother earth and they rejoice when a large number of people die because they believe that less people equals a healthier planet. This may or may not be what you or other people in your circle believe, but it is more common than you may think.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 40 weeks ago
#13

the Republicans are right. It is just too expensive to save the world.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 40 weeks ago
#14

Dr. Econ -- Did you ever have an economics course? All the unemployed and underemployed people are a great source of wealth (nothing to do with money) that could easily save the world.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 40 weeks ago
#15

Ou812 -- Are you trying to make me sad? Van Halen would never do that.

OldSchool 7 years 40 weeks ago
#16

If regulations create jobs, why not generate a continuous supply of erroneous regulations and stimulate the economy?

Because regulations only create temporary jobs at the cost of the consumer, until competition from other countries (like China) steel the market with less regulation. Both regulation and high taxes send jobs overseas. But it doesn't happen overnight, it takes a few years, which is why few see the connection; how regulation kills jobs long term.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 40 weeks ago
#17

chuckle8 said

"Dr. Econ -- Did you ever have an economics course? All the unemployed and underemployed people are a great source of wealth (nothing to do with money) that could easily save the world. "

To my response that 'the Republicans are right: it is too expensive to save the world'.

I was merely quoting Kurt Vonnegut's line that 'We could have saved the world, but it was too expensive'.

So, I was joking.

However, there might come a time when it will be true - not all the horses and men will be able to put humpty dumpty back together again.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 40 weeks ago
#18

OK, now that I am here, let me just say that Thom Hartman's point is really stupid.

Regulations *will* cost jobs. Lots of them. If you shut down all the oil refineries tomarrow, there will be an economic calamity never before witnessed by man.

This is obvious to a child. Ok, a big child who is smart and goes to Earth Day or something.

Thom has continually mislead people post after post, exaggerating the claims and making people who follow him stooges for the right, when they suddenly come accross the truth and realize Thom lies.

So, Thom, fess up! Be like me: be a liberal, not a liar.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ 7 years 39 weeks ago
#19

Old School said "If regulations create jobs, why not generate a continuous supply of erroneous regulations and stimulate the economy? "

that is why I disagreed with Thom's heading. However, in his actual post, he confined himself to the result of a study that said the particular regulation he was looking at increased jobs, and in fact said that 'good regulations create jobs'.

And of course, he is right. Good regulations are done to save lives, make us healthier, and in the long run create a more efficient economy.

But as to regulations - yes, you require domestic products to have certain limitations, then you should require foreign competitors the same. Otherwise, it is unfair. But that is an argument for more regulation, not less.

OldSchool 7 years 39 weeks ago
#20

It is unrealistic to believe that competing nations will agree to adopt the same regulations that we apply domestically. Trade agreements could achieve this in theory, but oversight and enforcement is nearly impossible. Safety regulations make sense on the surface, but they most often go too far and drives jobs overseas, or kill new emerging markets that could innovate with safer methods. A free market system has a built-in set of checks and balances to create demand for tighter safety controls, and reward innovation to reduce safety risks from the process. Central government planning usually reacts slowly. When central planners finally take action, they most often apply regs that can cripple business and limit growth.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 39 weeks ago
#21

OldSchool -- You need an older school. The New Deal had a 91% top tax rate and an ever increasing number of regulations. The New Deal built the greatest economy the world has ever known. JFK lowered the top tax rate and the economy slowed. Raygun lowered the top tax rate a lot and set the stage for the destruction of the US economy.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 39 weeks ago
#22

OldSchool -- Free markets always fail. The freer the market the faster they fail. They've been tried many times. You should read "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein.

You also should listen to Thom Hartmann more.

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