In the debate over the current economic crisis, there is a continued drumbeat from Big Business that regulations will “kill jobs.” It’s an old trope that gets trotted out every few years. So as the drumbeat to roll back the nation’s vital public safeguards gets louder in the coming weeks and months, remember it is just Big Business crying wolf… again.
The latest example was found in a recent CNN Money page story Does a healthy environment harm jobs?, which repeated the theme that regulations “will result in factory closures and jobs losses just when the nation needs them least.” Fortunately, the article included the other, factually-based side of the story.
Included is a study from the Center for American Progress, which concluded, “The data shows that the fear of drastic economic harm due to a stronger (ozone) standard is unwarranted, despite industries’ fevered predictions.”
The article also quotes supporters saying “industry always cries ‘job losses’ whenever it’s told to clean up its act,” which, it turns out, is completely true.
Here’s EPA Director Lisa Jackson, in Politico: “Today’s forecasts of economic doom are nearly identical — almost word for word — to the doomsday predictions of the last 40 years,” EPA chief Lisa Jackson said in a September speech. “This ‘broken record’ continues despite the fact that history has proven the doomsayers wrong again and again.”
From that same Politico article, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), said the message is the same it’s been for the 36 years he’s been in Congress.
“That was their message when I first came here on the Clean Air Act in 1975, as we approached the ’77 reauthorization,” Waxman said. “It was their position for more than a decade before we got to the 1990 amendments. Every statement made by industry about how it was going to cost jobs and ruin the economy has turned out to be false.”
EPA Deputy Director Bob Perciasepe, in testimony from a July hearing of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs: “While you will hear from some in industry that the rules are not achievable and not cost effective, our analysis and past experience indicate that warnings of dire economic consequences of moving forward with these important rules are exaggerated at best.
For example, during development of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, industry estimated that the cost of the new requirements for sulfur dioxide would be $7.5 billion per year. In reality, the cost of achieving the reductions was around a $1.5 billion per year – a fraction of the costs estimated by those seeking to prevent enactment of that landmark legislation.
In fact, at the time, American Electric Power warned of ‘the potential destruction of the Midwest economy.’ The Southern Company warned of unrealistic compliance dates and issues with electrical reliability. These predictions were not true then, and industry’s remarkably similar claims about the current Clean Air Act regulations are not true now.”