Pearlstein on Regulation, Innovation, and the Bogus Business Uncertainty Meme

If you read one thing today, read Steven Pearlstein's piece on the meme the business community has been pushing about the "uncertainty" caused by the Obama agenda. 

The big complaint from the business lobby these days concerns a "lack of clarity" about federal regulation that prevents companies from using all that cash piling up on balance sheets to hire workers and make major investments.

Then, without missing a beat, those very same business groups declare themselves unalterably opposed to any climate-change legislation that sets plant-specific targets for carbon reductions, puts a floor and a ceiling on the price of carbon, tells utilities exactly how much of their power should come from low-carbon sources or sets specific standards for the energy efficiency of cars and appliances.

Apparently the Chamber of Commerce types think Americans are so gullible that we won't notice their blatant and self-serving hypocrisy. In reality, it's only a certain kind of regulatory clarity they seek -- the clarity of knowing that old regulations won't be enforced and new ones will be dictated by industry lobbyists.

And here I was thinking how much progress had been made in getting past the stale political bromides.

The whole piece is here, and is worth a read. Paul Krugman has also looked at the economic data that might support the uncertainty argument (it doesn't). At the end of the day, this regime uncertainty meme is questionable, polemical anecdote attempting to influence economic policymaking, which it shouldn't.