“Our economy is not a zero-sum game. Regulations do have costs; often, as a country, we have to make tough decisions about whether those costs are necessary.”
—President Obama, Wall Street Journal op-ed, January 18, 2011
A recent op-ed on CNN.com began: “‘Businesses adding jobs’ is a headline every elected official loves to read. Sadly, it's one that's getting harder and harder to find because of a policy and regulatory landscape that makes it increasingly difficult for businesses to see why and where creating new jobs makes sense.”
If President Obama were reading that he would no doubt decry it as political grandstanding having no basis in fact, believing that the massive numbers of new regulations coming from his administration in no way affect actual business decisions. But wait, this op-ed was written by a senior executive of a Fortune 500 company. Perhaps he speaks with some practical knowledge of the effects of regulations on business?
The column continues: “The employer mandate contained in the new health care reform law, for example, forces us to change the way we have offered health care coverage to our full- and part-time workers and, together with all the other looming regulations, causes us to rethink the way we schedule the hourly work force that is at the heart of how we deliver our product to customers.”
Oh, well, see, Democrats would argue, this businessperson is obviously just a shill seeking to undermine the federal takeover of health care and probably wants no regulation at all on the private sector.
But the author, CEO of a company in the restaurant industry, preempts this charge, stating: “This is not to say that the restaurant industry should not be appropriately regulated. Food safety and cleanliness standards are just two examples of categories of regulation we welcome given their importance in helping protect two critical elements of our promise to our guests, which are their safety and well-being.”
Nonetheless, the administration’s regulatory apologists would surely dismiss this job creator’s opinion piece (titled “What's stopping job creation? Too much regulation”) as it must be the work of a partisan Republican. The article continues: “Policymakers and pundits bemoan the economic news of the day and chastise the business community for not ‘investing’ or creating jobs to help lead us out of the recession. But through the lens of a business owner, a regulatory ‘perfect storm’ is forming that causes even the most well-intentioned business leaders to pause.”
So just who penned this op-ed that sounds a lot like the arguments House Republicans have been making this year? Ironically, Clarence Otis Jr., Chairman and CEO of Darden Restaurants—a $7 billion company that employs 180,000 people—was the author. Mr. Otis is a big supporter of President Obama and even had lunch with the president just a few months ago.
With millions of people out of work, new burdensome regulations continuing to flow from the administration, and 27 House-passed bipartisan jobs bills stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate, it does not appear Mr. Otis’ message has been well received.
What are House Republicans doing?
This week the House is expected to consider the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act, legislation that will help to create thousands of new American jobs while helping Americans struggling with the consequences of President Obama’s failed economic policies. The bill will extend the payroll tax cut, protect Social Security, reform and extend unemployment insurance, and extend pro-growth tax relief for businesses of all sizes – while also advancing several bipartisan measures that will directly support the creation of private-sector jobs, including the Keystone XL energy pipeline.