Vail Daily letter: The GOP agenda
Vail, CO, Colorado
The good news and the bad news are the same news. Congress is reconvening after spending a month of reconnecting with their constituents and their benefactors (don’t confuse the two). Each party is prepared to launch its respective campaigns to grow jobs. You remember that public priority, the one that dates back to December 2007, when the unemployment rate suddenly ratcheted up and kept climbing.
House Republicans are sure to block anything and everything Obama proposes. The Republicans have no plan whatsoever, but they have talking points they will use to try to convince you otherwise.
They will spend a lot of time promoting reducing taxes on “small business.” As I have written in this publication before, be aware of the term “small business.” A small business is technically defined in the tax code by the number of owners and not the number of employees or the amount of revenue or profits.
As an example, Koch Industries employs about 70,000 worldwide and has annual revenue that approaches $100 billion. It is a “small” business. I think the Republican Party has the Kochs in mind more than the locally owned dry cleaning operation down the street when they promote tax cuts for small businesses.
And if the Kochs get tax relief, I am sure they will run right out and hire more people with that extra cash. Uh-huh. The other major Republican talking point will be to attack all those annoying, job-killing regulations. It wasn’t long ago that these same conservatives were complaining that excessive regulations were driving up costs. They had to hire extra staff to monitor compliance and keep up with the paperwork. The new spin is that regulations are costing jobs.
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Regulations are the operating directives that flow from laws passed in the legislative process. The laws and regulations that follow exist to protect us from each other. The objectives are long and varied, but many are directed at issues of safety, fairness, protection of personal property, protection of the environment, etc.
Over time some regulations will outlive their usefulness, just as some tax exemptions and credits will stay on the books after the original purpose for them has long since disappeared. Good governance should require a culling of those aspects of taxation and regulation that no longer serve the purpose for which they were intended.
Do regulations cost jobs? In general, the economic argument is weak and the linkage is not direct. For example, Republicans argue that restrictions on drilling in the Gulf and in ANWAR are restricting job growth. Yet, oil and natural gas drillers are sitting on thousands of existing leases on which they are doing nothing.
I am not a believer that private industry can self regulate. The record here is very poor. Unfettered free market capitalism is a license to abuse, price fix and monopolize markets. The problem isn’t the capitalistic system. The problem is us. We are the weak link. Ergo, regulations.
I suspect that regulations are more likely to reduce corporate profits than restrict job growth. And therein lies the real reason Republicans want them dismantled.
And good morning, Jon Huntsman. You are a breath of fresh air to the Republican Party.