Congressional Budget Office Says Deregulation Will Not Create Jobs

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that concludes that deregulation will not create jobs. The report is the latest piece of evidence that the ongoing congressional attacks on public protections are misguided, at best.

Since the 112th Congress began its work in January, representatives and senators have offered up a slew of bills that would gut crucial safeguards. Some of these attacks, like the TRAIN Act and the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act have specifically targeted standards that would protect millions of Americans from dangerous air pollution and toxic waste. Others, like the REINS Act and the Regulatory Accountability Act, are broad and would grind the rulemaking process to a halt, endangering Americans' quality of life. Despite their supporters' claims, these bills do not constitute a jobs plan. Indeed, the bills' sponsors seem to be motivated by scoring points for future elections and garnering campaign cash.

The CBO report is just the most recent publication showing that there is no trade off between jobs and a good regulatory system. Studies by the Economic Policy Institute, statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, and surveys by McClatchy Newspapers, the National Association for Business Economics, and the Small Business Majority strongly reinforce this point. Individual business owners have testified – on camera – that most regulations are reasonable and that killing off regulations will not generate more jobs. You can listen to some of their stories here, here, here, and here.

Let's be clear: the economy crashed in 2008 because key regulations in the financial sector had been removed. These changes allowed banks and other institutions to take massive risks with other people's money as they raked in record profits themselves. Rolling back environmental, health, and safety standards is another version of this phenomenon: deregulation will allow particular companies to rake in higher profits while the risks and dangers to everyday Americans accumulate.

It's time for conservatives to give up their tired, discredited talking points about "job-killing" public protections and stop promoting efforts to kill rules that safeguard the public. Instead of wasting time with unconstructive attacks on our regulatory system, Congress should focus on making crucial investments in our nation's infrastructure and economy that will get Americans back to work.

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