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.