Long ago it was established that Fox News is not a legitimate journalistic enterprise. It is the PR division of the Republican Party. Fox bristles at that characterization despite the fact that they have admitted that they approach the news from “the other side” of what they consider the liberal media. They have even been caught reading “news” items straight from Republican press releases.
Now Fox News is promoting a special slate of programming for next week that they are calling “Regulation Nation.” The promotion shows Fox bragging that “We expose how excessive laws are drowning American business.”
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that next weeks special programming, on both Fox News and Fox Business, was scheduled at precisely the same time as the Republican Party’s announcement that they will be pursuing an anti-regulation agenda for the remainder of this year. The GOP’s House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, just published his list of the “Top 10 Job-Destroying Regulations.” Cantor describes the list as a memo on the jobs agenda, but the list is nothing more than a collection of health, safety, and environmental regulations that he and the GOP oppose (and one anti-union bill for good measure).
The effects of these proposals will serve only to produce dirtier air and water, more hazardous working conditions, and astronomical leaps in costs related to health care. And that isn’t even addressing the human toll of disease, disability, and death. Jonathan Cohn at the New Republic summed up the fallacy embraced by the GOP plan with an example taken from Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) analysis of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (which is included in Cantor’s Top 10 list).
“By 2014, the agency predicts, the new rule will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 71 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 52 percent.
“Of course, the companies that still maintain plants with high emissions will have to spend money to comply with the new rule. And, according to the Barrasso memo, the bill for that compliance (including, as far as I can tell, higher prices the companies might pass along to customers) comes to $2.4 billion a year. But the source of that figure is the EPA’s own assessment, which notes that $1.6 billion of that represent a one-time-only capital investment, already underway – and that even the $2.4 billion pales next to the $120 to $280 billion in annual benefits that the regulation will generate. Those benefits include reduced emergency room visits, missed days at work, and mortality.”
The entire Republican deregulation campaign is fraught with similar examples of proposals that oppose measures that may require modest investments, but will produce far more in savings and new revenue, not to mention a higher quality of life. And despite the Republican deceit of calling these anti-regulation proposals a jobs agenda, there is no evidence that any part of it would create a single job. As pretty much every credible economic expert has affirmed, the current employment situation is not the result of taxes and regulations. It is due to lack of demand. And demand increases when middle-income consumers have more money to spend, not when wealthy people and corporations are taxed less.
What the Republicans are seeking, by their own admission, is competitiveness in global markets, and their deregulation plan is certain to achieve that. It will finally make the United States competitive with nations like China for having the lowest wages and the highest levels of pollution, and the worst standard of living.
And isn’t it convenient that Fox News would choose this time to produce programming that adopts the very same positions on the economy and the agenda going forward as the leaders of the Republican Party?
[Update 9/12/11] Media Matters has posted an excellent article with additional research affirming that taxes and regulations have little impact on job creation.