If Jobs are the Priority, Of Course You Ask Employers for Input

By January 5, 2011Economy, Regulations

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), incoming chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has drawn media attention and the predictable outrage from the predictably outraged for asking companies and business groups (including the National Association of Manufacturers) for their views on regulations and job creation. Issa sent a letter last month to more than 150 companies, trade associations and research group seeking input, inquiries consistent with his priorities for the committee as he identified in a Bloomberg interview:

My number one priority is safety and security of the American people. My two priority is to reduce spending, and my number three, but not the last by any means, is to get this economy going away so there will be jobs. That’s what we have to do with the administration, whenever possible.

If jobs are priority, it makes sense to seek the opinions of the people who create the most jobs, that is, private sector employers. We recall President Obama spending a lot of time with corporate CEOs last month for those very reasons.

Politico first reported the story and did a fair job in its coverage, including the NAM’s perspective on the Obama Administration’s regulatory excess. In the story, Rosario Palmieri, NAM’s vice president for regulatory policy, cited as worthy of review the EPA greenhouse gas controls for major emitters, the proposed limits on ground-level ozone and new controls on incinerators and boilers.

From “Darrell Issa asks business: Tell me what to change“:

NAM’s “high-priority” regulatory list also includes OSHA consultation, noise and other policies, upcoming Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission controls regarding over-the-counter derivatives, Transportation Department limits on hours of service for truck drivers, and implementing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act signed into law in 2008 by President George W. Bush.

“These are all high-priority regulations that can cost manufacturing jobs and will if implemented the wrong way or will as currently proposed or finalized,” Palmieri said. “We’re anxious for some oversight of these programs.”

He said there is a growing voice from “members on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, recognizing that the cumulative burden of regulation is a real problem and if we want to create more jobs and improve this economy, we need to get a handle on it.”

The jobs-killing, economy-throttling, anti-liberty consequences of regulatory excess are among the most frequent topics of commentary here at Shopfloor.org.

Journalistic reports on Issa’s letters were by and large fair, representing his legitimate goals in seeking information and business’ legitimate goals in providing information. The usual zealots and apologists for  the all-encompassing regulatory state (Public Citizen, for example) declaimed and demanded: How dare Issa talk to business! He should join us in demonizing them.

The impact of regulatory state on the economy and America’s citizens well deserves oversight and investigation, and Issa’s letters are an attempt to make his committee’s efforts informed and productive. That looks like good, responsive, sensible representation to us.

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