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The GOP's Misguided War on Government Regulations

The GOP isn't being honest when they use "job killing" as an argument against health and safety regulations. Here's how to defeat the argument.

Editor's note: Last week a trio of corporate watchdogs, and better business advocates called attention to the false dichotomy between regulations and job creation. One of the speakers was co-founder of Seventh Generation, Jeffrey Holldender. Here's his dispatch on the topic, also posted at his own blog,

Matt Madia, a policy analyst at OMB Watch, Robert Weissman, president at Public Citizen, Peter Iwanowicz of the American Lung Association, and I participated in a media briefing to call attention to Representative Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) plans to hold hundreds of hearings to investigate the Obama administration this year, including the oversight hearing on “job-killing” regulations that took place on Thursday.

This is a misguided effort that distracts our government from dealing with the real reasons our economy is suffering.

Government regulations don’t strangle job creation. This is a myth repeated by politicians and corporate CEOs who stand to dramatically increase profits if these standards disappear—safeguards that in fact create and protect millions of jobs and the businesses that play by the rules. These standards ensure product and food safety, protect our environment, and ensure the proper regulation of our finance, medical, and legal industries.

Profits at American companies are higher then they have been in 60 years, at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter of 2010. The challenge we face is that even with extremely high levels of corporate profitability, large companies still refuse to invest those profits in new jobs.

With the broader U-6 measure of unemployment at 17 percent, Rep. Issa would more productively use his time if he focused on:

  • Increasing capital access to small business to create jobs;
  • Reducing tax benefits to businesses that export jobs outside of the United States;
  • Preventing business from externalizing its costs by exposing the public to toxic chemicals and pollution at the expense of public health and environmental safety;
  • Passing TOSCA reform; and
  • Leveling the playing field by precluding companies from escaping their corporate tax obligations by using tax havens outside of the United States.
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I’ve started three companies, generated thousands of jobs, and created hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder value as an entrepreneur since I was 19, and I’ve never felt restrained by government regulation!

Jeffrey Hollender is the co-founder of Seventh Generation and the American Sustainable Business Council. His blog, “The Next Generation of Business,” is published at

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