Public Citizen's David Arkush sets Congress straight on the benefits of regulations

David Arkush

This morning, David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, got a chance to educate the Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a group intent on willfully ignoring the enormous benefits of regulations to our society, since that would contradict their narrative that overregulation is the main problem with our economy.

David highlighted the overwhelming health, safety and environmental benefits that almost all major regulations provide to the public, reminding lawmakers that the benefits of regulations over the past 10 years have exceeded their costs more than seven times. In other words, our investment in regulation provides a 700 percent return to the country, making it by far one of the best investments in America right now.

He also noted the often overlooked benefits that regulations provide in the form of spurring innovation and investment to make sure industry is meeting 21st century health, safety and environmental standards. Public Citizen yesterday released a report, Regulation: The Unsung Hero in American Innovation, which identified five key regulations that were bitterly contested by industry, but once finalized, were easily complied with and helped move the respective industries to adopting new, more efficient technologies.

David argued that in our current economy, where companies are choosing to defer investment until consumer demand for new products and services rebound, new regulations are one of the only ways to induce companies to bring their capital off the sidelines and create jobs in the process.

His testimony was in stark contrast to the broadsides launched by Republican committee members, who repeatedly invoked their blind faith in the notion that by merely reducing regulations, jobs would instantly be created and our economy would magically rebound.

David pointed out the 11-ton elephant in the room: that it was a lack of strong financial regulations that led to the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression and resulted in more than 8 million jobs lost.

Sadly, Republicans are more interested in misinformation and distortion than relinquishing one of their favorite targets – supposed overregulation – thereby exposing the lack of any real positive jobs agenda from their side.