Anything Repeated Enough is True, Especially About Regulations

Sometimes the obvious is not true.  Take these two supposedly self-evident statements:

“Too much government regulation can stifle private business and kill job creation.”  the Washington Post editorial stated on September 23, 2011. In February, President Obama wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall St. Journal that "Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs." Variations of these statement fills the pages of the Congressional Record and Fox News.

When I questioned the top regulation overseer for the White House, Cass Sunstein, for an example of a rule that the President was referring to, he could not give me a single example. Last week, Senators Pryor (D-AR), Portman(R-OH), and Collins (R-ME) introduced a terrible regulatory reform bill, S. 1606 that my colleague, Daniel Rosenberg, has written about. At the press conference announcing the bill, a reporter asked for an example of a job-killing regulation.  None of the Senators could think of one. 

Small businesses come to members of Congress and are primed to complain about regulations; but when challenged that can’t think of one.  No one I can find can think of one that really was bad; hurt business, stifled creativity. . . . except for the next one.  And that I have heard for 30 years.