chasing my tail

I know this is just adding to the world’s abundant supply of hot air, but I am once again amazed by the ability of the right to hold beliefs in the face of obvious contradictions.

Example 1# – Bloomberg reports President Obama has approved fewer government regulations than either President Bush, and when you adjust for inflation – an act which allows for ‘apples to apples’ comparisons – Obama’s regulations cost just a little more than the 1981-2008 average.

More importantly, regulation is not what’s sinking the economy. Bloomberg reports there were 3,114 ‘mass layoffs’ in the first half of the year. (A ‘mass layoff’ involves more than 50 workers.) Of those 3,114 layoffs, 11 were related to government regulation.

11.

By comparison, 1,053 were the result of weak demand.

You already know what comes next. To quote Bloomberg:

Republicans contend that the issue is about more than raw numbers. It’s about how businesses perceive the regulatory environment.

In other words, when you can’t cherry pick the facts, simply replace it with an unprovable opinion. Some days, the people on that side of things must just sit back and laugh as poor, pathetic reality-based writers chase this stuff – we’re always fighting the last war, while they move on to the next demonstration of outrage.

Speaking of cherry picking…

Example 2# – Politico’s Tim Mak reports on the results of a Gallup poll this way:

As the White House and Republicans battle over regulations, a new poll finds that small-business owners rank “complying with government regulations” as the most important problem that they face.

Indeed, 41 percent of small business owners said that government was somehow related to the biggest problem facing their companies, says a Monday Gallup poll.

Well, that certainly sounds bad for the ‘the economy sucks because there are no jobs/OWS/Krugman/unwashed liberals’ crowd, doesn’t it?

However, to get to 41 percent, Mak has to pile up three separate numbers:

More small-business owners view the costs of complying with government regulations as a bigger problem than any other issue at 22 percent. Meanwhile, 9 percent viewed poor leadership, the government or the president as being the biggest problem facing small businesses, while 5 percent cited new healthcare regulations.

But two can play that game: if you add up the ‘consumer confidence’ (15 percent) and ‘lack of consumer demand’ (12 percent) numbers, you’re at 27 percent total. Add ‘lack of jobs’ (4 percent), ‘cash flow’ (7 percent) and the above mentioned ‘poor leadership’ (9 percent) and you could believably write “Nearly half (47 percent) of small businesses surveyed said the poor economy, and Washington’s failure to get the country going, is the biggest problem facing small business.”

Of course, I’m just playing with words. There’s no proof that the Gallup survey means anything of the sort.

Oh, wait…

Mak did not report another part of Monday’s survey. When asked “what would you need to see to in order to feel your business will thrive in 2012?” the top four were:

Growth and sales increases: 15%

Job creation: 14%

Fewer government regulations: 12%

Improved economy: 8%

Seriously, it’s just one poll, and it’s internally contradictory, to say the least. But there’s one thing I’m sure it’s not: proof that government regulation is really the underlying problem.

Read the poll itself here.

Read Tim Mak’s take on the poll here.

Edit – I missed this line from Bloomberg about the cost of President Obama’s regulations:

“The average annual cost to businesses under Obama is higher than under his predecessors, the Bloomberg review shows. The increase is estimated to total as little as $100 million or as much as $4.1 billion, or at most three one-hundredths of a percent of the total economy.” (Emphasis mine.)

Ah. So that’s what we’re fighting about.

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