Trapped as they are by their own rhetoric, the Republicans are down to just two basic prescriptions for improving job growth: Cut taxes and reduce “job-killing” regulation.
We’ve dealt with the tax question repeatedly, demonstrating both that the current tax burden is lower than it has been in 60 years and that neither tax cuts nor tax hikes have the economic impact that the GOP alleges.
But what about this second claim, the notion that the federal government is strangling the U.S. economy with regulation, and that the Obama administration is rapidly making things worse?
Well, let’s start with the basics. The World Bank ranks the United States fifth in the world, out of 183 nations ranked, in the ease of doing business. The only four nations ahead of us in the ranking are Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Great Britain.
OK. but isn’t Obama in the process of destroying all that? By the time he’s finished wrecking the American economy with all of his liberal rules, won’t we rank down near, say, Kenya, at 98th in terms of the ease of doing business?
House Speaker John Boehner would surely have you think so.
“At this moment, the Executive Branch has 219 new rules in the works that will cost our economy at least $100 million,” he said earlier this month. “That means under the current Washington agenda, our economy is poised to take a hit from the government of at least $100 million — 219 times.”
Fact-checkers at the Washington Post pointed out how badly Boehner was distorting reality with that claim. For example, many of the regulations in question were deemed significant because of the benefits involved, not because of the cost.
Finally, there’s this, from ABC News:
During Obama’s first two years in office, 555 new “significant” regulations, or ones that have a cost or benefit of at least $100 million in a year, have been enacted, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Over the eight years that former president George W. Bush was in office about 2,380 regulations were enacted, an average of 595 every two years.
In other words, Obama has reduced the number of significant new federal regulations by 6.6 percent compared to the average under his predecessor.
– Jay Bookman