This article was reported by and originally appeared in Remapping Debate and is posted here by permission
No one has done more than the billionaire private-equity investor Peter G. Peterson to stir America’s anxiety over deficits, debt, and what Peterson (among others) considers out-of-control entitlement-program spending. Those same concerns now lie at the heart of a “fiscal responsibility” curriculum being developed for America’s high schools. The curriculum bears the stamp of Columbia University’s prestigious Teachers College, but reflects the focus suggested by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which provided $2.4 million in funding for the project.
Teachers College gave Remapping Debate access to a set of 24 lessons set to be test-taught in four states this spring prior to a wider roll-out in 2011-12. Heavily weighted toward the themes and arguments of Peterson and other deficit hawks, the trial lessons could be seen as part of an effort by one of the country’s wealthiest men to spread his gospel to coming generations. Although the lessons focus on the perils of public debt, they also suggest another danger — of an academic institution inadvertently lending its weight to a big funder’s cause.
The curriculum’s authors — a team of educators working under the supervision of Teachers College faculty — describe it as nonpartisan and “inquiry-driven.” Anand Marri, the assistant professor of Social Studies and Education in charge of the project, rejected the idea that Peterson and his foundation might be using Teachers College to promote an agenda. “People from the right and the left are going to find something wrong,” said Marri, pictured at left. “But the larger point of this curriculum is to get kids to think about multiple perspectives. We’re trying to give them as holistic a picture as we can.”
In their presentation of questions and selection of evidence, however, the trial lessons repeatedly point toward two core ideas of Peterson’s long crusade: first, that America’s future is threatened by deficit spending, and, second, that Social Security and Medicare have helped put our economy on an “unsustainable course.”
Debt and deficit, first and last
Andrew Fieldhouse, one of several economists asked by Remapping Debate to review parts of the 409-page curriculum, objected strenuously to what he said was a loaded discussion of the debt and deficit, one designed both to fuel alarm and to put undue focus on the spending rather than the revenue side of things.
Fieldhouse, a federal budget analyst at the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute, questioned the practice of treating taxes, spending and fiscal balance as issues unto themselves. “Budgeting is the numeric embodiment of all your national values and priorities,” said Fieldhouse, pictured at right. “It’s about the public goods you want to provide for the nation, and how you pay for them.” Fieldhouse, a federal budget analyst at the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute, questioned the practice of treating taxes, spending and fiscal balance as issues unto themselves. “Budgeting is the numeric embodiment of all your national values and priorities,” he said. “It’s about the public goods you want to provide for the nation, and how you pay for them.”
The starting point of any discussion of public finances, Fieldhouse continued, should be a vision for the country and its future, and, within that framework, a conviction about the role of government. A curriculum conceived in that spirit, he said, would explore a range of possible government missions — providing social insurance, funding education, investing in infrastructure, easing people’s fears, strengthening communities, smoothing out the economic cycle — before it tried to tackle questions of debt financing and fiscal responsibility. The trial lessons, which plunge right into these questions, rest on “a problematically narrow-minded view of the economy,” Fieldhouse said.
Robert Prasch, an economics professor at Middlebury College, voiced similar complaints about the way the curriculum deals with Social Security. “No effort is made to explore whether, and to what extent, there may or may not be a fiscal crisis facing Social Security,” said Prasch, pictured at right. “It is presumed or taken as an unimpeachable fact.”
In its discussion of Social Security and other issues, the curriculum does sometimes cite materials from liberal as well as conservative sources, but the effort to provide balance is often brief or oblique. The first of five economics lessons, for example, cites a proposal to gradually eliminate the social-security-tax income cap, which currently stands at $106,800 a year. That step alone, the economist Teresa Ghilarducci is quoted as saying, would “solve the entire predicted Social Security deficit for 75 years.”
Out of four Social Security remedies laid out for consideration, however, hers is the only one that would not mean lower benefits for at least some recipients. Moreover, the lesson fails to provide what Ghilarducci and other retirement-policy experts regard as an important piece of background information: the fact that because of rising income inequality, the Social Security tax now covers only about 84 percent of all payroll income, down from the 90 percent target set by a reform commission in 1983.
By leaving that out, Ghilarducci told Remapping Debate, the curriculum creates an exaggerated impression of Social Security’s vulnerability. The same effect is created, she said, by repeated cases in which the lessons lump Social Security with Medicare and Medicaid, two programs that face far more serious long-term problems.
James Galbraith, professor of government at the University of Texas, pointed out that the lesson containing Ghilarducci’s proposal leads off with an “essential question,” namely: “Should mandatory programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security be modified to address the national debt?” Not, “What is the national debt? Is it a problem?” said Galbraith, pictured at left. “Not ‘Should anything be done to address the national debt?’ Just ‘Should Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security be modified to address the national debt?’”
Driving home the point
Students might be led to answer “yes” after browsing over the series of worrisome graphs, charts, and visual materials that accompany the chapter. Among them: a cartoon depicting a middle-class taxpayer staggering under the weight of “the programs piled on the taxpayer’s back” (see cartoon here); charts showing U.S. debt at historically high levels and illustrating the hefty share of federal spending taken up by Social Security, health programs, and defense; a graph suggesting that current spending trends are “not sustainable”; a second cartoon depicting a parent having to tell his young child that a towering and ominous mountain of debt will someday “all be yours” (see cartoon here); and a second graph (this one supplied by the conservative Heritage Foundation) purporting to demonstrate the apparent futility of trying to address the entitlement programs’ problems with tax increases (see graph here). The last point is reinforced by the graph maker’s decision to present the cost of such tax increases as rising to the point where, by the year 2048, it would amount to an extra $12,078 “per household,” suggesting that the burden might fall equally on all households. That would only be the case, however, if the U.S. had meanwhile chosen to abandon its longstanding commitment to the principle of progressive taxation, in which high earners pay a bigger share of their income than lower wage earners do.
The difficulties of raising sufficient revenue to make a serious fiscal difference are dramatized again in Lesson 3, “Taxation and the Federal Budget.” Here, all except one of the proposed tax measures — “Return the Estate Tax to levels set in 2001, before the Bush tax cuts” — involve personal income taxes. The lesson does not consider higher corporate taxes (or fewer corporate tax breaks), a financial transaction tax, or taxing capital gains as ordinary income — three options with the potential to raise large sums of money and make a major dent in the deficit without raising the tax obligations of the vast majority of Americans.
Remapping Debate raised these questions, and others, with Professor Marri. In a number of the specific cases cited, the lessons might appear to be skewed or lacking important context, he acknowledged. But the curriculum is a work in progress, Marri added, and such problems will be addressed as time goes on.
How? Sometimes by adding a fact, sometimes by changing the sequence of material, sometimes by inserting a qualifying phrase such as “Some economists say…” That, for example, was how Marri proposed to deal with a passage in an introductory piece declaring that “our existing tax structure and government spending patterns, the rapidly rising cost of the way we deliver health care, and our mandated commitment to provide Medicare for a ‘booming’ population of retirees age 65 and older have put our economy on an unsustainable course.”
“The current budget deficit is $1.4 trillion or about 10% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $14.5 trillion,” students learn at the beginning of Lesson 6, entitled “The Federal Budget and the ‘Graying’ of America.’” Remapping Debate asked Marri about the failure to link those striking figures to three factors that go a long way toward explaining them: the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the revenue declines and spending increases occasioned by the severe economic contraction of 2008-09. The curriculum’s authors are preparing a lesson on the Bush tax cuts, Marri answered. But he added that they had generally chosen to downplay events of the recent past, because “we didn’t want the lessons to get outdated.”
How was the project created?
It was Teachers College that approached the Peterson Foundation, at first with the idea of a curriculum based on a Peterson-sponsored documentary, “IOUSA.” Originally, the focus was going to be on personal finance. But the Peterson foundation preferred to emphasize public finance. The foundation, as it happened, had a far bigger project in mind than the one envisioned by Marri and his colleagues: their $50,000 application ended up as a $2.4 million grant for a curriculum focused on the federal budget, the national debt, and the deficit. “These are three things that are important for kids to know about,” Marri said, adding that the choice of those particular topics was “how we got this project.”
Marri pointed out more than once, however, that students would be encouraged to think about how to “address our fiscal challenges in a manner that is consistent with our values and traditions — that’s the essential question of the curriculum,” Marri said.
The decision to make “fiscal challenges” the frame within which values are discussed is different, of course, from Andrew Fieldhouse’s proposed alternative — one that begins with values, traditions, and societal goals and choices, and then, within such a policy framework, assesses how to fund those choices most appropriately.
Remapping Debate asked Marri whether it might have been better to have a curriculum on policy and budget decisions broadly defined, without immediately prioritizing questions of debt and deficits. That, he said, would have been too “blasé” to hold the attention of students. It “wouldn’t have gotten any traction in any of the classrooms.” Marri went on to say that he regarded the topical issues of debt and deficits as as a good way to get students and teachers interested in the potentially dry subject of budgeting.
The plan is ultimately to distribute 100,000 copies of the curriculum, while also making it available for free downloading by any school, public or private, that wants it. In hindsight, Marri said, he and his colleagues regretted the use of what some people would consider a loaded phrase — “fiscal responsibility” — in the curriculum title; but it was too late to change that, he added. By the time the final curriculum is completed, however, Marri said he is confident that any perceptions of imbalance will be dispelled. “We would be very shocked and really disappointed if this curriculum were regarded as promoting Pete Peterson’s perspective.”
A spokesperson for Teachers College, Jim Gardner, said that the school would “take strong exception” to any suggestion that the “Understanding Fiscal Responsibility” curriculum had been crafted to advance the political agenda of Peterson and his foundation, which was created in 2008 to build more support for its brand of fiscal responsibility, or, as its website declares, “to increase public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America’s future and to accelerate action on them.”
“We don’t shill for our funders,” Gardner told Remapping Debate. At the same time, the College is not responsible for monitoring the objectivity of every faculty project, he noted. “We vouch for the integrity of the protocols that govern research,” Gardner said. “We don’t regulate individual faculty members’ or departments’ research in terms of if and how it’s being skewed.”
Errors of Commission and Omission
Weimar Republic worry. Introducing the concepts of deficit and debt, a teachers’ primer speaks of the danger of letting debt “grow so large that there is no hope of paying it off in the future.” To illustrate, the primer cites the hyperinflation of Weimar Germany, whose collapse set the stage for Nazi Germany. Most economists would consider that an extreme example, of little relevance to the United States. By contrast, the primer says nothing about the concern of many economists today that inadequate public spending could make a bad economy worse, potentially reducing the government’s capacity to pay debt in the future.
Health-care costs. The curriculum makes many references to the sharp growth of Medicare and Medicaid spending. It has extremely little to say about the parallel pattern of America’s private health care system, from which the government purchases the services provided under its programs. If the U.S. could get private health-care costs down to the level of most other countries, that accomplishment alone, some economists and health care experts say, would send the federal budget from deficit to surplus. (Health-care policy could be too much for the curriculum to take on, Marri said.)
Progressive taxation. The curriculum gives students several opportunities to express their views on the fairness of different types of taxes — flat, proportional, and progressive. Yet it fails to provide any historical background on the idea of progressive taxation or the reasons behind it. Nor do the lessons discuss the changes that have made the U.S. tax code significantly less progressive in recent decades. The omissions arguably make it difficult for students to be able to render informed opinions, as they are asked to do, about the relative merits of a progressive versus a “flat tax” system.
Budget balancing. The budgeting section of the primer likens federal spending to personal spending, and, in a claim that many economists would dispute, describes a balanced budget as “the goal for both.” (Marri told Remapping Debate that this was a mistake, but “easy enough to change.”)
“Cost-benefit” analysis. An economics primer begins with a discussion of “cost-benefit” analysis that operates from the point of view that an immutable “scarcity of resources” must govern policy decisions. “[G]iven that the amount of revenue the U.S. government can spend each year is limited,” the curriculum says, “Congress must make difficult choices.” For example, more money spent on health care could mean less spending on defense, it explains. Students will be asked to weigh the decision to fund any program against the presumed sacrifice of other programs, the primer continues. But the framework seems not to recognize that the “scarcity of resources” problem in a wealthy society could be the result of a political decision, rather than being a given. The curriculum doesn’t ask that students think about a program’s “benefits” or “costs” outside that program’s potential role in a cost-cutting exercise. Important but intangible goals that can’t be measured in dollars — such as a sense of security or ease for America’s families — do not make it into the mathematics of the curriculum’s model.
International comparisons. While the curriculum often cites this country’s high current and projected deficits, only the world history lessons mention the fact that Britain, France, and Japan all have bigger ratios of debt to gross domestic product than the U.S. does. (The next set of lessons will have more to say about how the U.S. stacks up internationally, Marri said.)
This article was reported by and originally appeared in Remapping Debate and is posted here by permission
House Republicans and the President jockeyed recently to demonstrate their opposition to “bad” regulations. House majority leader Eric Cantor was confrontational, rallying fellow-Republicans for an assault on “the job-killing regulations that have been pursued by this Administration.” President Obama struck a more nuanced note; while insisting that some regulations play an important and constructive role, he voiced irritation over a subset of rules that he described as wasteful, redundant, or “just plain dumb.” He added that he had directed the Office of Management and Budget to undertake a systematic review of those that “stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.”
These exchanges left plenty of room, of course, for struggle over the particulars of regulating the Internet, food safety, drugs, coal mining, oil drilling, and financial derivatives, among other zones of disagreement. Yet the President seemed almost as eager as his opponents to slam the door on a broader question: Do regulations actually “kill jobs”? Is there an inevitable tension, as the President suggested in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, between the health, safety, social, and environmental goals of regulation, on the one hand, and job creation, on the other?
The idea is widely taken for granted. “Job-killing regulation” has become not only a mantra of today’s Republicans, but also the marketing pitch for a host of plans to have Congress exercise preemptive powers over federal rule-making and enforcement efforts.
It turns out, however, that it is easier to generate provocative rhetoric on this topic than to provide historical evidence for the proposition that regulations do, in fact, kill jobs. Through repeated inquiry, Remapping Debate established that, at least in Washington, vociferous opponents of regulation are often unable or unwilling to offer any such evidence, even in the area of regulation — environmental protection — that is the ground zero of current Republican fury.
In 1990, congressional Democrats, along with moderate Republicans and the administration of President George H.W. Bush, came together to amend the Clean Air Act for the purpose of creating a cap and trade program to reduce the sulfur dioxide emissions responsible for the problem of acid rain. The National Association of Manufacturers warned at the time that the 1990 law would achieve “the dubious distinction of moving the United States towards the status of a second-class industrial power by the end of the century.” That same year, the Business Roundtable commissioned a study that foresaw job losses of at least 200,000 and possibly as many as 2 million.
Such apprehensions led the law’s framers to include a $50 million retraining fund for displaced workers. Yet four years later, only 2,363 displaced workers, all of them coal miners, had applied for aid in the belief that their unemployment had been caused by the act.
Even the EPA, environmental groups say, has consistently over-estimated the economic costs of its rulemaking. Looking back on the first ten years of the nation’s experience with the 1990 program, the agency found a total loss of 4,000 coal miner jobs, as opposed to the 15,000 it had forecast. The great majority of the losses, the EPA concluded, were the result of mechanization and productivity increases, not regulation.
Studies of the 1990 Act, by observers within government and without, have generally agreed that it produced surprisingly quick results at surprisingly low cost.
The dollar costs of environmental regulation, according to Eban Goodstein, an economist who has written extensively on the subject, have typically been too small — no more than about 2 percent of overall production costs — to cause a company to consider relocating to a foreign country. When companies do make that decision, Goodstein says, they are motivated by the pursuit of lower labor and health-coverage costs, not by the prospect of escaping the expense of regulatory compliance.
Goodstein points out that the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act did not, beyond modest losses in coal industry employment, have any significant net negative job impact, and certainly nothing remotely of the scale predicted by the Business Roundtable.
He asserts that scary job-loss predictions have been consistently overstated for several reasons, including the time that companies are typically given to adjust; during the transition period, he says, they develop methods of compliance that are often not only less costly but more effective than the ones that existed when the rule was first promulgated. A key abatement technology in the sulfur dioxide case, for example, were the “scrubbers” that came to be used by the nation’s electrical-power plants. They turned out to be significantly more effective than experts had projected, removing upwards of 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide, according to the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental think tank.
But the biggest weakness of most of the alarming studies, according to Goodstein and others, has been their failure to fully examine the job-producing results of compliance. The anti-regulation camp wants “people to believe that the money spent complying with regulations is poured down a sewer and is never seen again,” says Sidney Shapiro, a regulatory scholar and law professor at Wake Forest University.
Laurie Johnson, chief economist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that selling pollution control equipment, and transporting, installing, and maintaining it, translates into “a lot of income, GDP, and jobs…Environmental protection and cleanup is labor-intensive work,” Johnson says.
The Business Roundtable’s 1990 study explicitly ignored the upside, offering an estimate of gross job losses, not net losses. But the main effect of the 1990 Clean Air amendments, says Goodstein, was to shift employment from one area to another — in the first place, from high-sulfur Eastern coal to low-sulfur Western coal. That meant job losses in eastern coal mines accompanied by modest job gains in western mines and more substantial gains in the railroad industry.
This time it will really be terrible
Rep. John Carter of Texas has introduced a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to bar the EPA from implementing rules, announced last August, that would compel the Portland cement industry to reduce its levels of mercury and particle pollution. That pollution has been linked to a range of serious health problems, including asthma, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, and damage to fetal and child brain development.
In an interview with Remapping Debate last week, Carter stressed the jobs threat posed by these rules. He said that while he supports tougher standards, “as does the industry itself,” the EPA’s current proposals did not provide the industry with the flexibility for a “reasonable compliance process.”
Cement makers have advised Carter that it will cost as much as $3.8 billion to meet the new standards; the EPA puts the price tag at slightly under $1 billion. Either way, Carter told Remapping Debate, it’s big money for an industry with a net worth of $10 billion — enough that “you have to start really saying, can we really be in this country? Are our choices better in Mexico or in China or someplace else? Or are we going to spent $3.8 billion just to be able to make these products inside the continental United States.”
Carter acknowledged in the interview, however, that he could not point to any case of past job-destroying regulation. The only data he possessed, he said, involved the Portland cement industry, and in that case, he said frankly, he was relying on figures generated by the industry itself.
Evidence not forthcoming
In September, the EPA formally announced greenhouse gas emission limits for new and modified power plants, and said it would begin to draft rules for existing plants, to be announced by Nov. 2012 and put into effect gradually over succeeding years. Since that announcement, a number of Republican legislators have introduced bills designed to delay or block EPA action.
The new chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), has not endorsed any of these measures. In a recent statement, however, Upton portrayed the EPA as an agency with “its foot firmly on the throat of our economic recovery.” By one means or another, Upton has vowed to resist what he calls an “unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs.”
Remapping Debate asked Rep. Upton both for evidence of the threat posed by the current EPA proposal, and for past instances of environmental regulation that had been responsible for large-scale job losses. In the middle of last week, his office promised that responses would be forthcoming promptly. At press time, however, nothing had been produced.
Remapping Debate put the same questions to a series of other opponents of regulation, with similar results (see bottom box).
Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, who has characterized the EPA as “the scariest agency in the federal government, an agency run amok,” did respond to Remapping Debate’s questions by email. In that response, Simpson spoke generally of being told by “company after company, big and small…how they are sitting on capital rather than creating jobs or investing in the growth of their businesses because they don’t know how EPA’s regulations are going to affect them.” He did not, however, address the request for current or historical evidence of economic harm.
Don Norman, chief economist of the Machinery and Applied Products Institute, is a critic of the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases who does acknowledge the historic success and cost-effectiveness of the Clean Air Act. “I think environmental regulation is a good thing,” he said. “As living standards rise, people tend to demand more of it. The question is, where do you draw the line?” Norman argues that in its current initiatives, the EPA is trying to move from an area with large potential for improvements at low cost, toward one where the costs will be high and the gains smaller.
Norman is the author of an Oct. 2010 study, funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute, that predicts a net loss of 7.3 million jobs by the year 2020 if the EPA is permitted to proceed with regulation of greenhouse gases. Since its publication, the study has been cited by several opponents of such regulation. “When the EPA first came along,” he said, “they sort of picked the low-hanging fruit, and the incremental cost of achieving significant environmental gains was pretty low. The concern is that as you go on and successfully tighten environmental regulations, the incremental cost rises rapidly…”
Norman acknowledged that he could not cite a past example of large, regulation-linked job losses. “You’d have to ask an environmental specialist about that,” he said. Norman pointed out that his own study had not involved original research, relying instead on raw data from a separate research project — an analysis, by NERA Economic Consulting (a global economic consulting firm) of the economic impact of greenhouse gas regulation on 11 states.
Norman, who said that it should be beyond argument that environmental regulation both creates some jobs and eliminates others, said that his and NERA’s work had sought to account for both. He went on to say, however, that the question of net gain or loss is inextricably tied to differing assumptions about the benefit-cost ratio of activities undertaken for the sake of regulatory compliance versus the benefit-cost ratio of other business activity.
If estimates from the EPA or environmentalists properly capture the job-catalyzing impact of regulation, he said, then regulation would indeed have striking net benefits. But, like many others critical of regulation, Norman believes that the EPA and its allies exaggerate the job-creating impact of regulation, and that economic activity uninfluenced by regulation can be presumed to be more productive. Indeed, in an analogy employed by Norman to illustrate this point, the regulation-linked activity had no value at all: “I can throw a brick into a window and create jobs for a window company,” Norman said, “but the person spending the money for a new window now has less to spend on other goods and services and that means jobs will be lost elsewhere.”
An alternative Republican view
Why, despite the absence of supporting evidence, do so many people believe that regulation will have catastrophic economic results? Rep. Carter acknowledged that he got his data on the cement industry from the industry. That’s fairly common, says former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican who served on the House Science Committee (now known as the Science, Space and Technology Committee) from 1981 to 2006, and was its chairman for the last five of those years. “No business wants any regulation — it’s inconvenient.”
Another difficulty, Boehlert says, is that modern legislators don’t always have the time or the desire to listen to opinions that diverge from the ones they already hold. “Most members of Congress are like one-armed paper-hangers — they’ve got 58 things to do every day,” he says. “So it’s easy to go online and read some commentary or get a snippet from a radio talk show, and you tend to believe what you hear.”
It’s been a source of frustration to Boehlert that many of his former colleagues don’t grasp the potential economic benefits of regulation.
“Some of the countries with the strongest, strictest environmental regulations have had some of the best economic growth,” Boehlert says.
“We’re importing a lot of pollution-control products from other nations. Why aren’t we creating them and exporting them to other nations? And look what happened to the auto industry. Month-after-month, and year-after-year, the percentage of international automobile sales for GM, Chrysler and Ford were going down, and Toyota, Hyundai and Honda were going up. What was the difference? Both were selling style. But where Detroit was selling power, these others were selling economy and fuel efficiency.”
The U.S. companies, he says, “fought every step of the way, and they had to get a bailout…They’re coming back now, and you know what they’re doing? They’re making more fuel-efficient vehicles. One reason is because they’re required to.”
Sidebar: SHOW US THE EVIDENCE
Remapping Debate invited several prominent opponents of regulation, in and out of government, to provide evidence of EPA regulations that “killed” jobs. Each of the following was apparently unable or unwilling to do so:
- Margo Thorning, chief economist of the American Council for Capital Formation and the author of a 2010 study that predicted a loss of 2.4 million jobs if the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill were enacted and implemented.
- Rosario Palmieri, vice president for infrastructure, legal and regulatory policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, which commissioned the ACCF study and which, on its website, declares the EPA’s proposals a threat to “manufacturers, businesses and jobs throughout America.”
- Nicole V. Crain and William M. Crain, co-authors of a widely cited study — done for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy — putting the total annual cost of all regulation at $1.7 trillion — a figure far higher than most such assessments.
- Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the new chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform committee, who has announced an inquiry into the “impact of government hyperregulation on job creation.”
- Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), the prime House sponsor of the REINS Act, which, by requiring congressional approval of every major rule ” before it could be enforced on the American people and businesses,” aims to “rein in the costly overreach of federal agencies that stifles job creation and hinders economic growth.”
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), whose Free Industry Act would amend the Clean Air Act to declare that nothing in that law “shall be treated as authorizing or requiring the regulation of climate change or global warming.