Reid says regulations don't kill jobs

In Harry Reid's world, the private sector is hiring and illegal immigrants don't work in construction.

So it's not surprising that the Senate majority leader would use a Tuesday floor speech to declare that regulations don't kill jobs.

"My Republican friends have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that the regulations they hate so much do the broad economic harms they claim," said Sen. Reid, D-Nev. "That's because there aren't any."

And the Iraq surge failed, too. Right, Sen. Reid?

Only three weeks ago, a Gallup poll of small business owners found that complying with government regulations is the most important problem they face today.

The budgets of federal regulatory agencies have increased 16 percent since 2008, and their workforce has grown by 13 percent in that time. In fact, from March 2010 to March 2011 alone, the number of federal regulatory employees increased by 5.2 percent. A Heritage Foundation study found that regulations introduced by the Obama administration have imposed $38 billion in new costs on American businesses and consumers.

Only two months ago, the Obama administration scrapped new clean-air regulations favored by the Environmental Protection Agency precisely because they would cost the ailing economy about $90 billion per year -- and that was the EPA's conservative estimate.

Regulations do no economic harm? How about the Dodd-Frank financial industry reforms? As a result of those and other new federal rules, Bank of America announced two months ago that it would slash 30,000 jobs by 2014. When government cuts into the profitability of businesses, eventually they shed jobs and stop creating new ones.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration's moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has cost tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost commerce.

In his speech, Sen. Reid cited a Labor Department statistic that less than 1 percent of layoffs result from regulations. But layoffs, overall, have fallen to pre-recession levels. The economy is still hurting, and unemployment is still high, because new jobs aren't being created. New and expanded regulations don't encourage job creation. Reducing the cost of regulation by slashing the existing bureaucracy and blocking new rules would help create jobs.

That's how things work in Nevada, anyway. Apparently, things look different from inside the Beltway.