Predictably, Republicans reacted to today’s dismal jobs number — which showed that zero net jobs were created in August — by blaming the supposed avalanche of taxes and regulations put in place by the Obama administration. “Private-sector job growth continues to be undermined by the triple threat of higher taxes, more failed ‘stimulus’ spending, and excessive federal regulations. Together, these Washington policies have created a fog of uncertainty that’s left small businesses unable to hire and American families worried about the future,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a statement today.
However, McClatchy conducted a survey of small business and found that they don’t blame taxes or regulations for their hesitancy to hire:
Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation. [...]
McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business.
Their response was surprising.
None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.
Some small business pointed to the cost of health insurance as holding them back. Others cited a simple lack of customers (consistent with an economic slump caused by lack of demand). “I think the business climate is so shaky that I would not want to undergo any expansion or outlay capital,” said Andy Weingarten, who owns Almar Auto Repair in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Several respondents actually pointed to the 2009 Recovery Act (i.e. the stimulus), which was almost unanimously opposed by Republicans, as helping to boost their businesses. “It allowed those folks to spend and have money and pay for the essentials,” said Rip Daniels, who owns four businesses.
Republicans, however, are continuing to insist on debilitating budget cuts that are not causing the private sector to hire, but that have contributed to an absolute hemorrhaging of jobs in the public sector. Since the official end of the recession, the public sector has lost 600,000 jobs.