An article in today's Washington Post questions whether regulations destroy jobs. Author Jia Lynn Yang writes,
Some jobs are lost. Others are created.
... tighter ozone regulation would actually have created jobs: it would have forced firms to spend on upgrading or replacing equipment, helping to boost demand.
But they fall prey to the "broken window" fallacy that Frederic Bastiat warned about. If a boy breaks a window, Keynesian economists would say he's creating jobs, since the owner of the window hires a glassmaker to fix the window. That creates work for glassmakers. But that work is just what is "seen." What is "unseen" is that the man who buys the new window has $100 fewer dollars to spend on something else. Maybe with the money he would have purchased shoes, giving the shoemaker more work. Similarly, what coal plants now must pay for scrubbers would have been used to invest in something else.
The truth is that regulations kill jobs.
The Clean Air Act provides a clear example. The Act's rules were toughest on American counties with the most pollution. Economist Michael Greenstone found that those counties lost more jobs than other counties. They lost:
... approximately 590,000 jobs, $37 billion in capital stock, and $75 billion (1987$) of output in pollution intensive industries.
To be clear, some environmental regulations are necessary. It's worth losing some jobs to reduce pollution. But let's not kid ourselves by claiming that it also creates jobs.
And the federal government has 160,000 pages of other regulations.
Give me a break.
This Week's Show -- July 10, 2014
CENSORSHIP AT CBS: Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a similar story. She explains why she left CBS after it became "harder and harder to get stories on television" that criticized this government and "any powers that be."
IS STOSSEL BIASED?: Years ago, journalist Howard Kurtz criticized me for not being objective. I said it's impossible for any journalist to be completely objective. Now that Howard Kurtz is on Fox, we debate again.
THE OBJECTIVITY MYTH: Andrew Kirell of Mediaite.com says, "every journalist has a point of view and they don't just magically check it the minute they walk in the newsroom door."
NEW MEDIA: Reason TV's Remy Munasifi uses music videos and parodies to complain about things like politicians' spending. One of his latest parodies highlights the scandal surrounding the VA hospitals. Munasifi discusses his videos, which have gone viral on YouTube.
RETRO REPORT: It's great there's a new media organization called Retro Report, which reveals media hype of the past ("crack babies," America's landfill "crisis," the "superpredator," etc.) and corrects stories everyone in the media got wrong. I discuss the new show with its executive producer, Kyra Darnton.
REAL OR FAKE?: Sometimes people in the media say things that are so bizarre, you'd think they were made up. Kennedy of The Independents quizzes FoxBusiness.com's Kate Rogers, Fox Business host Charles Payne and me to see if any of us can tell which quotes are real, and which were made up by my staff.
MY TAKE: I used to report on lots of scares. CBS even ran an ad for me where someone called me a "guardian angel."
That's bunk. The only guardian angel is a free and open society. That's what allows innovation, gives people longer lives, and lifts billions out of poverty. But these gradual improvements aren't newsworthy. Scares and disaster make the news.
News is broken not just because we're biased but because most good and important news happens slowly.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network