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Picking sides?

September 27, 2012

A congressman recently asked constituents in the subject line of an email to “pick sides” between business and the government. But it’s a false dilemma.

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) sent an email suggesting the choice for Americans is either more regulation and bigger government, or job creation and small-business growth.

He cites a 2011 study (.pdf file) that found reducing regulatory spending could lead to more job creation and more business revenue.

“Big government hurts small business,” Rehberg said. “That’s why I’m fighting to reduce the size of the government.”

Such a stark choice with seemingly no compromise is the type of rhetoric that doesn’t move the conversation forward. The study Rehberg cites makes no mention of safety regulations, glosses over the benefits regulations can provide and doesn’t fully explore “down the river” costs, such as the effect of workplace injuries.

Arguments can – and should – be made about the effectiveness of specific regulations, and what the government’s role is in the private industry. Let’s have that conversation instead of trying to claim it must be one or the other.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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