Earlier this week, I was on MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes about jobs, the Occupy Wall Street movement and other issues. During the show I said I'm a fan of health and safety -- not regulations. I said that some regulations have created jobs, since the industries being watched have to comply with the rules. For example, technological requirements can spur engineering improvement, which means employing engineers.
Well, the right wing went crazy. People who aren't even from my congressional district called my office and blasted me over email and the Twitterverse. I had gored one of their sacred cows -- deregulation -- and they howled loudly.
So who's right? Have health and environmental rules cost America jobs, or not? I said no. Here's what I'm talking about:
Environmental spending creates jobs in engineering, manufacturing, construction, materials, operations and maintenance. Vehicle emissions standards directly sparked the development and application of a wide range of automotive technologies that are now found throughout the global automobile market. The vehicle emissions control industry employs approximately 65,000 Americans with domestic annual sales of $26 billion. The worldwide market for environmental goods and services is worth over $700 billion, a size comparable to the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries.
If you want to know more about the wrongheaded jobs versus environmental protections argument check out the report, "Regulatory Uncertainty: A Phony Explanation for our Jobs Problem" by EPI's Larry Mishel.
You know the situation: roughly 14 million Americans are out of work and 46.2 million live in poverty. The Republicans have held the House for almost 300 days but they've introduced no jobs bills. In fact, they shot down President Obama's jobs bill like skeet. What have Republicans done? They've pushed for even more de-regulation in the name of "creating jobs."
One last point:
Moody's economist Mark Zandi, an advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign, estimates the $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by the House Republicans will cost the economy 700,000 jobs by 2012. Wrongheaded policies.
Rep. Keith M. Ellison represents Minnesota's 5th Congressional District and Co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Follow Rep. Keith Ellison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/keithellison