Does Government Regulation Really Kill Jobs? Economists Say Hardly

As Republican politicians pound the narrative theme that government regulations are killing jobs, employment data show that the GOP story simply isn't true. Economists who are used to this argument don't expect the facts to change many people's minds.

"Beverly, Ohio — The Muskingum River coal-fired power plant in Ohio is nearing the end of its life. AEP, one of the country’s biggest coal-based utilities, says it will cut 159 jobs when it shuts the decades-old plant in three years — sooner than it would like — because of new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency.

About an hour’s drive north, the life of another power plant is just beginning. In Dresden, Ohio, AEP has hired hundreds to build a natural-gas-fueled plant that will employ 25 people when it starts running early next year — and that will emit far fewer pollutants.

The two plants tell a complex story of what happens when regulations written in Washington ripple through the real economy. Some jobs are lost. Others are created. In the end, say economists who have studied this question, the overall impact on employment is minimal."

Jia Lynn Yang reports for the Washington Post November 13, 2011.

Source: Wash Post, 11/15/2011