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"The Hill" blog post argues that government regs don't kill jobs

January 13, 2012
KEYWORDS bills / jobs / safety / workers
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Capitol HillThe "job creator" bills passed by the House of Representatives along party lines late last year will do serious damage to the government's ability to protect Americans through "sensible rules and protections," according to a blog post on The Hill, an online source of information about Congress and business.

Entitled, "Killing regulations endangers jobs and workers" the post by Anastasia Christman and Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project said the bills' supporters claim that reducing regulations will lead to increased hiring are false.

"Accepting cuts in safety and fairness won’t get us more jobs, it will just make the jobs we already have worse," they write.

"Government regulation isn’t the problem, even according to business itself. Only 13 percent of employers identify regulation as the biggest problem they face, according to both the Small Business Majority and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Government data on mass layoffs shows that employers blamed regulations for only 0.3 percent of dismissals."

The two said that federal protections keep workers safe, although they conceded that 4,500 workers were killed on the job in 2010.

"Imagine how much worse that number would be if we allowed these bills to eviscerate our workplace safety rules. The sad truth, borne out by experience, is that we cannot depend on corporate self-policing or the market to keep workers safe."

When workers are injured or killed because profit is given a higher priority than safety, it is a "fundamental role" of government to hold corporate lawbreakers accountable.

"As a nation, we decided long ago that we weren’t willing to sacrifice worker safety, fairness on the job, or the sanctity of human life for the promise (often specious) of jobs."

Christman and Owens charge some legislators with using the economy as a reason to re-introduce "tired and largely discredited arguments in order to impose a regime that Americans long ago rejected. When Congress returns to Washington D.C. next week, it needs to stop peddling its anti-safeguard snake oil and start putting America back to work."

Anastasia Christman is senior policy analyst, and Christine Owens is executive director, with the National Employment Law Project in Washington, D.C.

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