But Will It Help?

Last week, I was having a chat with a conservative friend.  He was my boss, years ago, and since retired.

“The conservatives say that one of the reasons we’re not doing so well is excessive government regulation,” I said.  “Supposedly, if we ditch all these rules, we’ll unleash growth and create jobs.”


“But there are vast enterprises, with billions of dollars and tens of thousands of workers, associated with these regulations.  Not just the government bureaucrats, but private-sector consultants and others, all associated with the maintenance of and compliance with these regulations.  What happens to them?”

“That’s not my concern.  They’ll just have to find work for themselves in the new environment.  Did you expect the government to help them?”

No, I really didn’t expect the government to help them.  In fact, however onerous and pointless they may seem, most government regulations have a political constituency behind them, which will make them hard to get rid of.

But as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, it seems more likely that cutting government regulations will destroy more jobs than it creates.

Oh, bother.

One thought on “But Will It Help?”

  1. You may well be correct. There are layers of regulations (and regulatory personnel) in my profession that would astound you. Of course, we are destroying lethal chemicals where I work, or at least we are building the plant to do the destruction, so safety first , both for people in the plant and the surrounding community. An irony of the situation is that had Congress not forced the Army to demonstrate other ways of destroying our chemical agent stockpile, I would not have my job, because all of the sites would have used incineration followed by wet scrubbing (gas is bubbled through a column of liquid and the liquid reacts with at least some of the components in the gas stream,). All of the sites that stored chemical agents would most likely be in closure, or nearly so, by now.

    Not abiding by environmental or other regulations does provide an advantage to the company, because it drives down the cost of production becuse they don’t ahve to charge for waste stream management. We see environmental arbitage by Apple when they get Foxconn to make the iDevices in China. The banks that sold toxic securities may not have done anything illegal, but it was wrong.

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