One of the favorite conservative myths of the moment involves the supposed “job-killing” effects of regulations coming out of the Obama administration. Today, it was evidently 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s turn to take this tall tale out for a spin. During an event in New Hampshire, Romney claimed that the rate of new regulations under Obama has “increased four-fold,” resulting in businesses being buried under a pile of red tape:
The level of regulation in America, every the regulators, the government, come up with new regulations. And they send them out. The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, ‘gosh, I’m not sure I want to invest in America.’
This statistic has absolutely no basis in reality. In fact, it isn’t true according to the Romney campaign. When Romney made the same claim during an interview with NPR in September, NPR asked the Romney campaign for verification, at which point the campaign was forced to admit that “the Governor misspoke.”
Instead, the Romney camp told NPR that new regulations under Obama are twice what they were under President George W. Bush. Trouble is, that’s not true either, as Bloomberg News pointed out:
Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.
Later on during the event, Romney claimed that, according to an official government report, regulations costs the U.S. economy $1.7 trillion annually. That number, according to economists, also isn’t true. In fact, John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute found that the study Romney cited “contains basic conceptual mistakes and relies on extraordinarily poor data.” “Its results should neither be used as a valid measure of the economic costs of regulation nor as a guide for policy,” he said.
For Romney, using these outright falsehoods helps him paint the Obama administration as some sort of regulatory behemoth, smooshing small businesses beneath its heels. However, when actual small businesses are asked whether regulations are killing jobs, the answer is always a resounding no.