GOP Leadership Promotes REINS Act With False Jobs-Deregulation Link

December 08, 2011 10:43 am ET — Kate Conway

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed its latest assault on federal regulation when it approved the REINS Act, a bill that would force a congressional vote on any regulation estimated to have an economic impact of $100 million or more. Although the bill has literally nothing to do with job creation, the GOP leadership has been busy promoting the measure as a job-booster. According to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the REINS Act is a "great example of how the House is listening & acting on jobs." From a press release on Boehner's House website:

REINS Act Is Great Example of How the House Is Listening & Acting on Jobs

"I want to congratulate Geoff Davis on a job well-done.  Geoff's worked on this bill now for almost two years.  It was an idea that came from one of his constituents at a town hall meeting.  Anybody who doesn't think the American political process works, here's a great example of how it really does work."

Here's part of Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-VA) REINS Act statement:

Regulatory reform and smart regulation are key parts of our jobs plan to help boost job creation and economic growth. This fall, the House has worked to repeal the most harmful regulations coming from the Obama Administration and implemented common sense reforms to the regulatory process. The REINS Act holds Washington regulators accountable by requiring Congress to vote on regulations that would impose significant new costs on the small businessmen and women who we are counting on to create jobs.

And Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA):

America's small businesses are the engine of economic growth and job creation, and Washington shouldn't be making it more difficult for them to succeed. Under Democrat-controlled Washington, the federal government has become a factory of red tape. ... The REINS Act is part of the House Republican jobs agenda and will put in place crucial reforms to our regulatory process.

In one sense, the REINS Act is a 'great example of how the House is listening and acting on jobs': They're not. Like many of the other measures the GOP has billed as job-creating, the GOP's promotion of the REINS Act is based on the false premise that government regulations hamper job creation. There's no empirical evidence for that assertion. And many of the people who know about this sort of thing — economists, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business owners — say that it's a lack of demand, not over-regulation, that's preventing businesses from hiring. Nevertheless, the GOP takes the link between deregulation and job creation as such gospel truth that they show no hint of shame when they stand up in front of their constituents and praise an anti-regulation bill as pro-jobs.