Journalism in the Public Interest

Do Regulations Really Kill Jobs Overall? Not So Much

Experts say regulations kill some jobs but also create others and that mostly it’s a wash. 

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Sep. 23, 2011, 10:34 p.m.

Hey Occindental,

Surely you would grant there is a problem with waste, conflict, and outright corruption with regulations even as you point out the value of regulation in creating the level playing field. America seems to have an extra layer to other countries, (local, county, state, and federal), my only point being it is more difficult for jurisdictions to come up with consistent non-contradictory non-redundant regulation compliance and enforcement. So even once we get past the “all regulation is bad” shibboleth, and the “corruption makes valid regulation impossible” prejudice, problems of logistics and efficiency remain. Obama has charged a task force with looking into burdens caused by complexity. Not a bad idea.


Sep. 24, 2011, 2:22 a.m.

Your can cut it or dice it any way you want….the bottom line is that over
regulation does cost jobs…..companyies will move their operations over
seas to avoid some of these regulations…...........and then we have the scenario where companies move overseas to avoid paying the employer taxes that are really necessary here, but they don’t have to pay them else where…...the govt needs to step up and get a grip on reality and put a stop to some of these frivolous regulations and then step up and don’t make it so lucrative for these companies to move their operations overseas just to escape the labor cost in this country.
And further more, It’s the blue collar jobs that are hurt the most by over regulations, and white collar jobs that benefit the most…..all y’all should
remember one thing…..IT’S THE BLUE COLLAR WORKER THAT IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE NATION….....they are the ones that build things and make things. If they over regulate the blue collar worker out
of existence this country is done, but don’t take my word for it, just lets
keep on the path we are on stick our collective heads in the sand and
pretend everything is alright…...and when the s__t hits the fan everyone will all of a sudden wake up (just like 9/11) and be pointing fingers at each other, but you know what….IT WILL BE TO LATE!!!

Richard McCargar

Sep. 24, 2011, 2:32 a.m.

Okay, I’ll bite.  Let’s take a look at ibsteve2u’s point: “Speaking of radio…”

After a quick perusal of the link provided by steve (thank you) I decided it would be worthwhile to look at the FCC’s take on low power fm stations as shown by steve. After all, Prometheus does not license anyone, it is the FCC which performs that task.

Here’s what I found:

Who is Eligible for LPFM Licenses?

-A government or non-profit educational institution, like a public or private school or state or private university; or

-A non-profit organization, association or entity with an educational purpose, like a community group, public service or public health organization, disability service provider or faith-based organization; or

-A government or non-profit entity providing local public safety or transportation service, like a volunteer fire department, local government or state transportation authority.

Who is Not Eligible for LPFM Licenses?

LPFM licenses cannot be issued to individual or commercial entities. Also, existing broadcasters, cable television system operators, newspaper publishers, and other media entities are not eligible for LPFM licenses.

How Can I Apply for an LPFM Station?

The FCC has developed a computer software program (“LPFM Channel Finder”) to help potential LPFM applicants find an available channel in their area. The FCC will first accept applications for 100-watt stations, followed by applications for 10-watt stations.

The FCC will give at least 30 days notice, via a Public Notice and/or the FCC Web site when a filing window is available in your state. There is no cost to file an application for a permit to construct an LPFM station or a license to operate an LPFM station. A construction permit issued by the FCC is required before an applicant is allowed to construct an LPFM station and a license issued by the FCC is required before operation of an LPFM station can begin.

If there are conflicting LPFM applications in the same area, competing applications will be resolved through a process that awards one point to each applicant for:

the organization’s presence in the community for at least two years;
an obligation to broadcast at least 12 hours each day; and
an obligation to broadcast at least eight hours of locally-originated programming each day.
The applicant with the most points will receive the construction permit.

If there is a tie after the points are tallied, the competing applicants will be encouraged to share a license. Formerly-competing applicants who resubmit their applications together will be permitted to total their points and compare their total with any other applicant for a license.

How Much Does it Cost to Construct an LPFM Station?

The construction and operating costs of an LPFM radio station can vary widely, depending on the type and quality of studio and broadcasting equipment used, as well as by whether a tower may be required. More information on the availability and costs of radio equipment is available from a variety of sources, such as electronics periodicals.

How Does My Organization Apply?

Applications for new LPFM stations, construction permits, or for major changes to LPFM permits or licenses may only be filed during the dates specified for an application filing window. Such applications may only be filed via the Media Bureau’s electronic filing system. An application will be returned, without consideration, if it is received at a time outside the filing window.

Looks like it isn’t as easy as steve thought. Individuals and commercial ventures cannot be issued licences for steve’s lpfm stations.

Great example steve. Made my point. Did you even bother to think about the requirements to gain a licence before you supplied your useless link?  Prometheus does not issue licenses, they are issued by the FCC.

Personally, when I start a business, I don’t scour the internet for sites with social engineering objectives such as the group supplied by steve.

Let’s take a look:

MISSION The Prometheus Radio Project builds participatory radio as a tool for social justice organizing and a voice for community expression. To that end, we demystify media policy and technology, advocate for a more just media system, and help grassroots organizations build communications infrastructure to strengthen their communities and movements.

Notice that I simply took the necessary path to obtain the necessary information, whereas steve chose to supply a link that appears to have been assembled by amateurs.

That is the difference between someone who knows what they are doing, and someone who does not.

I went to the source. Thanks steve.


Sep. 24, 2011, 11:37 a.m.

Sans the rigged currency exchange rates that make it possible to hire five offshore workers with the same dollars you can hire one worker in America, I highly doubt that Corporate America would have moved offshore - regulations, or not.

I don’t understand why the few in America believe that the American people should tolerate being worked to death or poisoned with industrial toxins.  This country rebelled from England to escape those who would treat us like dirt; why should we accept that from Americans just because they have both wealth and insatiable greed?

Do they desire a new revolution, but more along the lines of the French Revolution this time around?

Mason Cobb

Sep. 24, 2011, 3:04 p.m.

The article is right.  It is probably a net zero jobs one way or the other.  Question is, like anything else, is it sensible.  For example, following mine safety regs might have saved those 23 lives in the WV disaster. 

Re Mike H’s comment re neg job effect of Boeing not being allowed to go to NC: it saved about an equal number of jobs in Everett, WA.  Net zero.

Or maybe regs are net +: we lost some 13M jobs after poorly regulating housing and financial industries nearly gave us the death blow 3 years ago.


Sep. 25, 2011, 12:26 p.m.

How about instituting an import tax on goods produced in countries that don’t match our standards for environment, workey safety, human rights and ability to earn a kiving wage?  It would be a tiered system based on implementation, not just laws on the books. A 20% - 100% import tarriff on goods produced in countries that don’t match our standards. This would not necessairly alter free trade. If a country wanted to export more goods to help their economy the simply implement better laws toprotect their workers and the environment. It would improve free trade by leveling the playing field.  Who knows?  Made in Costa Rica or made in Argentina might gain some ground vs. Made in China.

Who would win? American workers (by saving jobs here). American tax payers (could lower taxes since the federal govt would have a new source of revenue), Small Business (could compete with big multi nationals), The US Economy (by reducing the deficit and saving jobs), and citizens abroad would benefit too by not having their environment and health squandered.

Who would lose?  big multinationals….and I’m afraid say that a new DVD player at Wall Mart may just end up costing you $75 or $80 instead of 29.99. Remember saving up to buy something we wanted instead of instant gratification always? I for one would be happy to pay the true cost of goods from now on.

Tom Parrett

Sep. 25, 2011, 12:56 p.m.

Such a compelling idea: economics wielded for social good. Incentives to spur desired behavior. And if a tariff proved too harsh, with too much hardship imposed on foreign workers and economies, we’d could institute the tariff in two or three stages.

I, too, would happily pay the real cost of what we now outsource to obtain cheap labor and compliant (or no) regulations. If corporations suffer—hey, they are human beings, quite wealthy human beings, who’ve been avoiding paying their fair share.

Bill Shadel

Sep. 26, 2011, 9:54 a.m.

The bottom line is this: regulations are needed because man is inherently selfish a greedy. If we all did the right thing, we would not need to be regulated.

This crying over our “parents” telling us to play fair is plain childish.


Sep. 26, 2011, 9:57 a.m.

Steve, I think you misread me.

First, on the subject of merely “making money,” that’s a smaller part of encouraging competition and improving the standard of living.  If you or I can’t start a company in areas that interest us, we’re doomed to working for others or living unemployed.

Second, look at the regulations again.  They prevent people from entering markets unless they have money.  Regulation of the FM spectrum doesn’t protect your freedom of expression, it protects those of someone with the money for the licenses.  (Actually, most of them, now somewhat relaxed, were designed to protect AM stations, because RCA had the ear of Congress at the time.)

As for Intellectual Property, it was never true that it protected the common person.  Sorry, that’s inaccurate:  The Statue of Anne protected the common person by breaking the monopoly of the stationers (book-sellers in American English, now known as publishers).  It said that the author (not a company) owned the rights and even then only for a fixed term.  The original U.S. copyright law allowing for renewal was also a good thing, in my opinion.  So twice, it protected the common person.

Times have changed, though.  Today, we have media players that “phone home” to ask permission, and it’s a felony to bypass it.  Congress is looking into “fixing” this so that your Internet connection can be cut if someone accuses you of making an unauthorized copy, which includes watching, since all digital uses require making copies.

Is it to your benefit to need to ask Michael Eisner or Rupert Murdock if it’s OK to watch a movie?

But it’s worse than that, because if everything is owned, nothing can be used without permission.  And that means that the only people who can expand existing culture are those with serious economic reach.  Want to annotate Robert Frost’s poetry?  You can’t without permission of the Frost Estate.  Want to annotate the poetry of someone obscure?  You need permission from…someone.  Maybe a grandkid.  Maybe someone at Disney.  Maybe, oh, you’ll want to hire a good IP lawyer and a few private detectives (and I mean that literally) to figure out what to do.

In a world like that, this also means that the wealthy control culture.  Bill Cosby bought the rights to many of the “Our Gang” films because he decided the treatment of Buckwheat was racist and didn’t want them seen again.  With enough money and enough proxies, a David Duke could buy the rights to “I Have a Dream” and erase it to a generation in the same way.

That’s how regulation helps the individual?  By limiting expression to what rich people find politically correct and commercially viable?

(Another great example:  Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” was based on a novel.  Try to find a copy.  Why is it hard?  Because Hitchcock bought the rights and destroyed as many copies as he could find so the ending wouldn’t get spoiled.  It’s a cool idea, but it removes the novel from existence.)

I’m in favor of copyright, even long copyrights.  If Disney can make Buck Rogers’s kids happy in AD2499, fine.  But century-long copyrights (or longer if the MPAA has its way—they’ve stated that a primary goal is perpetual copyright) that don’t need to be maintained and don’t provide an easy way to get permission mean that freedom of expression will and should be under the lock and key of the rich.

But I’m sure I’m wrong, and the movie studios are pushing for ever-increasing terms and punishments for our benefit, rather than their own.

ProPublica would seem to agree with me, incidentally, since their articles are published under a Creative Commons license that tries to solve some of these problems by allowing for republication.

Steve Hunter

Sep. 28, 2011, 10:33 a.m.

Richard, unfortunately deep pocketed businesses and industries support these bureaucrats that you lament with their lobbyists and campaign contributions. Locating facilities largely on the basis of tax incentives which by their very nature are a result of the efforts of these same bureaucrats/pols surely comes with a price, the politician with his or her hand out. As we all know, there are no free lunches.


Sep. 29, 2011, 11:35 p.m.

E. Brown does it again(conservative propaganda) blaming regulation for the increased cost of oil when most knowledgeable people know that the major factor for the increased cost of oil is in how it is traded on commodities exchanges.Read the book The Asylum to get a clear picture of how commodities markets really work. The beginning of the 20th century is living proof of why we needed and created “regulations”.
Look at what we were doing to the environment before the EPA when we left “industry” to its own devices e.g. Love Canal. If we didn’t have a clean water act what do you think our water would be like??


Sep. 30, 2011, 8:42 a.m.

@ron - it is pretty obvious that regulation has little impact upon the cost of oil, which has for the last few decades been speculator-driven.  If you look at the WRTG Economics chart at

with the exception of the 1973 oil embargo (the point when the Republicans began siding with the Islamic OPEC nations against the American people and the United States of America by blocking conservation measures and alternative energy research), what you see driving the chart’s upward movements aren’t really supply constraints, but rather a collection of reasons for speculators to drive the price of oil up…war, economic growth somewhere, and simply because it is the fastest, easiest way to levy an enormous private tax across the entire U.S. economy when you have Republicans in the White House who promise not to regulate the speculating hedge funds and banks.

That chart - in the price run-up during the last period of Republican power - also contains what I see as a chicken-and-egg puzzle:  Were all of those mortgages really bad, or did the rampant speculation in oil make them bad by forcing millions of Americans to choose between making gasoline payments so they could get to work and paying the mortgage?  In the “either, but not both” scenario that the artificially high price of gasoline created, the mortgage payment would of course be dispensed with first.

An American family still has to buy food, so commuting to work is…job #1.


Sep. 30, 2011, 8:55 a.m.

(Eeeks..make that WTRG Economics…although that source appears to have anticipated idiots like me in that they’ve emblazoned their chart with the correct spelling.)


Sep. 30, 2011, 2:30 p.m.

Again,(Bruce 9/24-3:22a.m.)claims that regulations are what caused corporations to “ship” jobs overseas e.g. the pacific rim and china,when the truth of the matter is that it is “cheap labor” that caused the migration of jobs overseas. Many years ago,corporate america stated that they can live with regulation as long as it is reasonable and not changed every few years. They claimed that they could ” adjust” to regulations as long they keep it in place and not change it as frequently as they do. Corporations helped create GATT and NAFTA that started the” ball rolling”.So Bruce, stop confoluting the discussion with misinformation.As the saying goes ” you are entitled to your opinion but not the facts”.


Sep. 30, 2011, 3:15 p.m.

Ron, I think we have to acknowledge there is a link, at least indirect, between regulations and shipping jobs. Lack of regulation can allow labor costs to be cheaper when you look at the micro level. But the other arguments that strict libertarians ignore are valid as well, and some factors *boost* the company’s ability to offer a good wage for its employees. Just for a couple of examples that have already been pointed out in this thread, government rules and programs about the environment provide companies usable infrastructure for their operations. Financial regulations on investment banks give an efficient and predictable capital climate that companies can rely on. (The current economic recession is called a growth recession because even though many companies are making money, capital uncertainty is what induces them to hoard money rather than hire for expansion.)


Sep. 30, 2011, 4:42 p.m.

Wonder how many regulations we’d have to dispense with to overcome the fact that a Chinese factory worker makes between $0.64 and $1.37 an hour?

lolll…gee, let us posit the idea that we got rid of all regulations.  What do you want to bet that Corporate America would be paying American workers between $0.64 and $1.37 - but gas would still be $3.50 a gallon, the rent would still be $900 a month, and a doctor visit would still be $150 - and you’d have to see the latter far more often ‘cuz you’d be breathing and drinking poison?

Or does somebody want to argue that reducing regulatory costs and turning down a buck they could pocket are not two entirely different subjects to Corporate America’s owner/operators.


Oct. 1, 2011, 12:19 a.m.

Frank,I question some of your assertions namely,restricting or eliminating regulations would reduce labor cost. On what do you base that assertion? Reducing or eliminating regulations would, in all probability reduce a company’s cost but that would only transfer to its shareholders/owners not to the employees. Reducing labor costs to equal pacific rim/Chinese labor costs would only reduce our standard of living. In the countries in question, their standard of living has increased but look at where they are coming from.I don’t know if you are employed and what your salary is but what would your standard of living be if we cut you salary by 2/3?
Regarding capital,your asserion that capital uncertainty is the basis for companies not hiring, most economists state that companies are not hiring because there are uncertain about their markets because of unemployment and people not spending( people aren’t buying).

Banks, on the other hand are not loaning money to companies because of this uncertainty and they are making huge amounts of money by buying government bonds and T Bills paying 3% while the government is loaning them money at next to nothing( I believe less then1%).So, why should they take on risk via loaning money when the have a guaranteed return.
In my opinion, eliminating regulations is a “red Herring”.
I agree that we have to visit regulations periodically to see if they make sense and are part of the solution,not the problem ( which president Obama has instituted as a program, to do).


Oct. 1, 2011, 12:38 a.m.

@ron:  It is a misconception to think that the standard of living is so low in the low labor cost nations.

You have to remember that labor is cheap primarily because of currency exchange rates; labor that is cheap in dollar terms resides in nations with a very low cost of living in dollar terms. 

That is why our right (to include the right-who-would-have-you-believe-they’re-“different” known as “libertarians”) is always going bananas about “The Fed is printing too much money and devaluing the dollar!!!”:  Correct the currency exchange rates by, say, accounting for the regional costs of food/housing/energy and our trade deficits go away and jobs come home.

But as I mentioned our right won’t go for that as it will reduce their profits; likewise, the PRC won’t go for that because they realized they could weaponize our right’s greed decades ago - which has been a very successful strategy on their part.

Tom Parrett

Oct. 1, 2011, 8:33 a.m.

The simple fact is, corporations have behaved egregiously, and pardon the generalization. The Supreme Court has declared them “persons,” it’s time they acted like one. Yes, they need to make a profit, that is their nature, but they are also citizens, neighbors, countrymen and patriots. They devote some of their ingenuity to keeping American jobs in America.  They sacrifice a little to keep jobs in America. Or we Americans will impose regulations on them to make it so—tax their imports, give tax breaks to competitors who create new jobs here.

And a populist movement starts rating products with based on the percentage of components that are Made in America.


Oct. 13, 2011, 2:33 p.m.

FYI to all who can’t figure it out. It was DE-regulation that led to the housing bubble and our current recession. By taking away rules that used to make it illegal for banks to lend mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them and by divvying up the responsibility of those loans to millions of investors worldwide rather than the traditional rule where the lender was the only party at risk for not getting paid back.

Instead of reinstating the rules that had kept us safe (rules that were implemented during the Great Depression to prevent another Great Depression) the GOP is doubling down on what didn’t work-they want MORE deregulation. The same goes with the GOP habit of cutting taxes and doubling defense spending simultaneously, they want taxes even lower despite the fact that the tax burden is the lowest it has been in 50 years, the most prosperous 50 years of our country by the way.

Ryan Griswold

March 15, 2013, 7:29 a.m.

More government BS propaganda. Remember they think we are idiots. Regulations keep fear in people from trying to grow and or start a business. Period. I’m sure they pick and area like clean water to make it look like thick regulations on everything is needed. It’s crap.

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