Unintended Consequences Sunday Sidebar Comment Request Open Thread

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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135 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If there is a joy greater than the joy of taking advantage of an opportunity to repeat oneself, I have not found it.

    Here’s another. BlaiseP, in response to my making this point in the past, quite regularly would point out that he ran his own business and it really wasn’t tough at all.

    I would always respond by pointing out that BlaiseP was not the guy I thought of when I thought of the guy standing on the peak of the bell curve.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

      My best guess is that Bp wasn’t selling meatball sammiches on the corner either.
      Your blog, above, is among the most erudite ever penned here at the Leauge. My congratulations. Now, if we can only get the commie-dems and other statists among the membership to understand the erudition of the blog.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

      “I would always respond by pointing out that BlaiseP was not the guy I thought of when I thought of the guy standing on the peak of the bell curve.”

      An interesting question might be, do you see those that stand at the peak of the bell curve the most likely to risk their personal assets and start businesses in the first place?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        No, but they’re a standard deviation away.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        If they aren’t, then perhaps we should be asking why not.Report

        • That depends on whether or not you think they ought or not.

          Which is a question that has two completely different root framings.

          Is it generally a good thing for people to be able to start their own businesses, regardless of whether or not they’d be good businessmen? (frame #1)

          If most businesses fail, and if we subsidize business failure to the extent that we allow bankruptcy, do we as a society want to lower the bar to “starting a business” to the point where bad businesspeople are encouraged enough to jump ship from a productive job they currently have to a situation where they’re going to wind up declaring bankruptcy in 4 years and the capital pool is going to eat the loss, and maybe they’ll wind up on welfare? (frame #2)

          I’m of the mind that there are two “biggest barriers” to self-employment; health insurance and low capital liquidity among the non-wealthy. I don’t think regulations are the bar quite to the extent that they qualify as big problems, compared to those two.

          That said, I see no reason for whole swaths of regulation that we *do* have, so there’s no real reason to keep them, either…Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

            I read a comment on H&R today that made an interesting point.

            (This next part assumes you have a car with a full tank of gas and $50.)

            You can start your own business for less than $50.

            You can get 500 business cards for 10 bucks at some places. Get some that say “Cahalan’s Cleaning Service” and your phone number and a catchy catchphrase on there (“Seriously. Not Calahan.”) and put them up all over town. Go out and buy $35 worth of cleaning supplies… Windex, Mr. Clean, mop, bucket, broom, and paper towels. Oh, and stop by an office supply store and pick up a $4 pad of receipts.

            Tah-dah! You now have your own business!

            So now what?

            You’d think, right?Report

            • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Jaybird says:

              I’m a bad case study, I don’t generalize.

              I have thought, actually. In fact, if I didn’t have to deal with a lot of crap that I don’t particularly have time to deal with, I’d have taken the time to incorporate and draw up business cards just so that when people ask me, “Hey, you’re a computer guy, do you think you can…” I could whip out the business card to go from 4 spades to 5 no-trump and say, “Sure, I do consulting work, my starting rate is $150/hr, let me know when is a good time and we can run through your problems and come up with a fix.”

              Not because I think I’d make more cheddar than I do now (I’ve already made the deliberate choice to earn less cheddar than I *can* so that I have a different work/life relationship than I would if I ran an IT department at the Regional Branch of Megacorp), just so that I can stop trying to get people to ask me to fix their broken laptop for free.

              I’d be worth the scotch money that I’d get for it. Now, sure, that’s something that would get one more infected spyware-riddled laptop off the internet commons and it’d get me a few dollars and maybe if more professionals could all do that without the hassle we’d all be better off. I don’t deny that.

              But I think that, generally speaking, people are *way* more put off by being risk-averse than they are by being red-tape-averse. Hanging out your own shingle is going away from the last N years of default assumptions about what is a normal, relatively safe career path.

              Yes, that is context-dependent. Making it easier to hang out your own shingle will make it easier to hang out your own shingle which will make it seem that much less risky and more viable as a normal, relatively safe career path. There will probably be a small payoff 12-15 years down the line, increasing over time. Not a bad idea, any way you slice it.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

            “That depends on whether or not you think they ought or not.”

            So success is a club and only Certain People should be allowed a chance to join? That’s an idea with some very ugly history to it.

            “Is it generally a good thing for people to be able to start their own businesses, regardless of whether or not they’d be good businessmen?”

            Is it generally a good thing for people to be able to form sports teams for local intramural leagues, regardless of whether or not they’d be good coaches?

            (Incidentally, my answer is “of course yes”, just in case you can’t figure it out.)

            “If most businesses fail, and if we subsidize business failure to the extent that we allow bankruptcy…”

            I think that’s the first time I’ve seen bankruptcy proceedings described as “subsidized business failure”. Doing so smacks of the “cheating fool” theory, that goes to the same place as “poor people caused the economic crisis by buying houses”.

            I’m aware of the “moral hazard” argument, and how I’ve used it in the past, but I think that the notion of self-supporting entrepeneurship is worth the moral hazard of bankruptcy abuse. Because, y’know, it’s not like declaring bankruptcy saves you from everything forever. (Just ask anyone who’s tried to get sewer service with a bankruptcy declaration on their record.)Report

            • > So success is a club and only Certain
              > People should be allowed a chance to
              > join? That’s an idea with some very
              > ugly history to it.

              Yes, that’s probably why I didn’t espouse that idea, myself.

              I make no assessment regarding the two frames, Duck. They both have something to say. They both also have a tendency to ignore that the other one exists, though.

              > Is it generally a good thing for
              > people to be able to form sports
              > teams for local intramural leagues,
              > regardless of whether or not
              > they’d be good coaches?

              Sure. That’s neither here nor there. If someone’s a crappy intramural coach, they’re not going to be a burden on society at all.

              > I think that’s the first time I’ve seen
              > bankruptcy proceedings described
              > as “subsidized business failure”.

              That’s exactly what it is. Remember debtor’s prison? Bankruptcy is the reason we don’t have it any more.

              > … that goes to the same place as “poor
              > people caused the economic crisis by
              > buying houses”.

              Are you saying that people buying houses beyond their economic means was *not* a contributing factor to the housing crisis?

              This != “caused”, of course. But the flip side is equally strained away from reality.

              I’m not saying that I think that encouraging business is bad (In Principle), Duck. I’m saying that there are drawbacks to it (In Practice), due to the way all these parts move together.

              I don’t mind encouraging it, but the drawbacks ought to be noted and either accounted for or accepted as necessary and acceptable.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

                …debtor’s prison is making a comeback. seems someone’s heard about “free labor” and thinks it sounds good with ketchup.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

                “If someone’s a crappy intramural coach, they’re not going to be a burden on society at all.”
                “I don’t mind encouraging [enterpeneurship], but the drawbacks ought to be noted and either accounted for or accepted as necessary and acceptable.”

                ah-heh. “I’m not espousing either of these two sides! I’m just saying that failed business owners might be a burden on society. I’m not saying that we should make it really hard to go into business, I’m just saying that we need to consider what might happen.”

                I know that you’re not concern trolling, but what you’re doing here looks exactly like it.Report

              • Oh, the failed business owners will be a burden on society, the way we’ve structured society.

                They might be a temporary burden. Heck, in the long run, they might try and fail three times and then on the fourth time found the next Apple and donate their millions to giving a break to failed business persons and make it all more than worth it, in the grand scheme of things.

                But in my experience, there isn’t anything leading me to believe that the current “difficulty bar” of starting a new business is keeping out more people who are likely to succeed than it is keeping out more people who are less likely to succeed (after all, a “Screw this I’m doing it my way” attitude is a fairly important first step to launching your own endeavor in the first place).

                Just like Mr. Farmer’s idea that “get rid of welfare and charity will take up the slack” proposal, I readily grant that it might work. But if we’re going that route, I’d like a somewhat robust idea of what we’re gonna do if it *don’t* work before I throw my chips down in support.

                Similarly, “just make it a whole lot easier to start your own business” might work. But if we’re going to go that route, “What do we do if all these people jumping ship from Corporate America to Doing Our Own Thing suddenly wind up increasing the number of people on welfare six years from now?” ought to be a question.

                If the answer is, “Well, I think it’s worth the risk and I’m willing to pay the piper if that happens,” that’s cool. Ten years from now if you come griping to me that the welfare rolls have gone up 30%, I’m going to nod sagely and say, “Shut up, this was *your* idea.”

                If the answer is, “Well, I think it’s the way things ought to be in the first place,” that’s cool too. If ten years from now there are 50% more people under the poverty line and most of ’em are two-time failed entrepreneurs, I might nod sagely and say, “Well, now we have mobs of pissed off broke people breaking into shops to steal bread, what’s your next idea to deal with these guys?”

                If the answer is, “Oh, I’m also getting for rid of welfare *right now*,” that’s yet another position, too.

                There are tradeoffs for everything, nothing comes for free. I don’t mind discussing advantages and disadvantages, but I think it’s fair to ask that we don’t discuss one and ignore the other.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

                If I never saw the phrase “concern troll” (or any variant) ever again, it would be too soon.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

                If someone’s a crappy intramural coach, they’re not going to be a burden on society at all.

                Either you are okay with people running around playing grabass or you are not.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m generally a fan of grabass.Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Are those regulations really the main problem right now? I mean, don’t get me wrong- that sounds totally accurate to me; it’s just I get skeptical when there’s something that I accept as true because it sounds totally accurate to me but I have no other way of knowing. Is there any way to quantify this? Also, isn’t it possible that at least some people are resisting the urge to start a business and hang out their shingle because “this is a recession and you’d have to be nuts to start a business now! Are you crazy?!” It’s certainly gone through my head that it would be lots of fun to start a business, just not right now.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

      How’s this? Far more than whether or not the minimum wage is a problem.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, okay. I suppose I agree with that, but it’s not my question.

        Look, this is a libertarian-leaning blog and you’re a libertarian leaning libertarian. It’s fairly predictable that, when the question is asked, “Why aren’t US businesses hiring?”, a progressive will say something like, “American capitalism maximizes profits at the expense of workers”; a conservative will say something like, “The socialist President won’t lower taxes or the minimum wage because he hates business”; and the libertarian will say something like, “Too many regulations. Duh.” This being a hangout for libertarians, it’s to be expected that we’ll all respond with something like, “Of course! That’s brilliant! Regulations indeed.” And, like I said, that sure sounds accurate to me! But, I’m also aware that it’s something that I’d like to believe, even though I have no experience to draw upon.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Rufus F. says:

          As another libertarian leaning libertarian, I would have this comment’s babies if it were not morally dubious and biologically impossible.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

          Ah, the question of “well, why aren’t businesses hiring?” is an interesting one as well.

          It’s kind of two or three or four questions, but I’ll bust it down into two:

          1) Why isn’t Jerry’s Downtown Bar and Grille hiring?
          2) Why isn’t Massive Conglomerate hiring?

          If I wanted to get you to sigh, I would say that the answer to 1 is to say that Jerry never opened it and he’s working at Massive Conglomerate. (Libertarians everywhere: BRILLIANT!)

          Let’s talk about the bars that actually exist though and talk about why most of them don’t have help wanted signs in the windows. The labor market is a buyer’s market currently. For every job opening, you get 20 applications when, just a few years back, you pretty much never had to bother to take the help wanted sign out of the window. (Colorado Springs has a bar on Nevada called The Navajo Hogan. In the 90’s, I had heard that if you walked in and asked for a job, the owner would throw an apron and a W-2 and an I-9 at you.)

          What that means now is that Jerry can see who is the best waitperson, best busboy, best short order cook and fire people who don’t meet spec because he knows that if he posts an ad in the weekly, he’ll get 20 resumes… and one of those resumes is likely to have someone better than the guy he just fired. The guy who gets the job is pleased to have it if not scared to lose it.

          When it comes to Massive Conglomerate, it’s a similar dynamic, only with whiter collars.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

            Another dynamic is the laziness dynamic.

            When business is booming and product is flying out the door, the answer to the manager’s question of “would it be easier for me to hire someone than to do this stuff myself (and/or make folks already on staff do it)?” has a very different answer than when stuff is not moving.

            “Would it be easier to fire the crappy workers and hire new ones?”

            “Would it be easier to fire the crappy workers and just get by without them?”

            The answers to these questions change based on tons of things… the amount of paperwork hiring someone involves, the amount of paperwork firing someone involves, and, of course, how much stuff needs doing in the store (or bar or wherever).

            The dynamic of “how much stuff needs doing in the store” is based on what’s going on in the outer economy, of course… but the stuff involved with hiring folks and firing folks isn’t.

            The laziness dynamic is an underappreciated one.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:

              Jay,
              *yawn* it isn’t laziness. it’s about how much money the Man can steal from people. And scared people don’t evaluate their options well. Work 60 hours a week for the same pay as 40? If you’re scared that you’ll default on your mortgage otherwise, you’ll say sure.

              In a seller’s labor market, you’d just switch jobs.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

            Okay, I lied (inadvertently)- it just occurred to me that, when we talk about bars, I probably am thinking of the local bar where I DJ, all my friends work, and two good friends own the joint. (This ‘Aint Hollywood, Hamilton, Ontario. Tell them Rufus sent you.) Duh.

            And, yeah, there are tons of regulations involved in opening a bar and running it, even in the libertarian paradise of Canada (har har). Particularly annoying are the regulations to do with making sure that no teenager at an all-ages event has a drop of alcohol in their system, even if they boozed it up at home, lest the cops shut you down. So, when you say that some hypothetical bar owner never got to open his bar because the regulations were so onerous, the libertarian leaning (libertarian curious?) side of me says, “Well, exactly! Now my friends don’t get jobs!” And, like I said, I’m pretty susceptible to this line of argument anyway.

            But, there’s another side of me that thinks, if you’re not going to get through the paperwork and hurdles to open a bar, you might be too much of a pussy to run one anyway, because you know what else is onerous about having a bar? Every fishing thing.

            Does that mean we should set up more hurdles? Of course not. It’s not that I think the existing regulations make any sense. After all, it’s a place where people hang out and drink beer; not a fishing hospital. But, I also get irritated with the idea (not that it’s yours mind you) that American businessmen are precious little dears who need things to be made much easier for them, or they’ll be too afraid to get in the water. Because you know where that mentality eventually leads? Subsidized businesses.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Rufus F. says:

          Rufus, I might suggest that the best way to look at Jaybird’s comment isn’t that it represented the Truth, so much as a truth.

          If libertarians here think that taking JB’s point to heart would alone solve very much, I might disagree. For one thing,to use his example, making a bar easier to open assumes that people want to go out and drink in public more, but they just don’t have a venue in which to do so. Going to a bar hopping on a Friday night in my town suggests this is not the issue. Also, I am a bit skeptical that all those that work for Massive Conglomerate would give their letters if opening a bar or retail shop were suddenly easier; I think he would find the salary and benefits are the actual golden handcuffs.

          Still, I think that there must be some measure to which there might be less governmental frictional costs to starting a business, and I think this would no doubt be a good thing. Would this be the answer to our economic woes? I doubt it; I suspect that one of the biggest net effect is that the percentage of businesses that fail in their first year would increase, but I don’t know that there’s anything wrong with this.

          And I agree with JB that this kid of question is more helpful from a macro perspective that the minimum wage issue.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            I think he would find the salary and benefits are the actual golden handcuffs.

            This is a great point, absolutely.

            I agree that they are.

            There is a dynamic that I seem to see more and more that the old way of thinking is going away… when I was a kid, the American Dream (DUSTY RHODES!) was to run your own business and “be your own boss”.

            Barring that, you’d get a job working for Massive Conglomerate with a Union job.

            Barring that, you’d get a job working for Massive Conglomerate in a non-union position.

            Barring *THAT*, you’d get a job for one of the folks in town who ran their own business and was his own boss.

            More and more and more, it seems like that first option is for suckers. Fair enough.

            But that means that the last option is becoming less and less available at the same time.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

              This is very close to the theme of The Organization Man, published in 1956. So unless you’re a lot older than I think, the trend started long before you were a kid.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

              “when I was a kid, the American Dream (DUSTY RHODES!) was to run your own business and “be your own boss”.”

              Funny, I wonder how much of this is generational? When I was a growing up, the dream and wisdom was to work for a Fortune 500 company. The thinking at the time was that if we got in with a big Blue Chip and were loyal, you had a job for life and a financial future you could rely on.

              Also, it was very, very important that you suits be grey with white shirts.

              Things are different now.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Heck, it could also be my relatives. They were the ones telling me the meaning of life when I was young enough to listen to them. Blue-collar Michiganders could easily have had different American Dreams than would be found elsewhere.Report

            • But that means that the last option [working for someone who is his or her own boss] is becoming less and less available at the same time.

              I’m not sure if that’s such a bad thing. I can think of plenty of reasons I might choose working for massive conglomerate over working for someone who owns their own business. To paraphrase George Costanza, “if my mom and pop owned a store, I wouldn’t work there.”Report

              • And fair enough… when Massive Conglomerate isn’t outsourcing everybody to India, Singapore, and Costa Rica, Massive Conglomerate is a good place to work.

                The hours are steady, you get paid for your 40 hours even during weeks where you spent most of your time at the water cooler and “getting research” for “the big project”, you have health insurance, and you have two (or three!) weeks’ worth of vacation every year. Pretty sweet.

                Unless, of course, Massive Conglomerate starts outsourcing.

                (Plus there’s another dynamic entirely when it comes to people who aren’t intimately familiar with the Corporate Cultures that would allow them to integrate seamlessly into Gigantic Trans-National from Massive Conglomerate if they, for some reason, got a wild hair and wanted to change careers.)Report

              • I know I’m changing the goal posts a bit, but what about Big But Not Massive Conglomerate? or Medium Sized Corporation With Branch Offices But No Hope Of Being So Big As To Be A Massive Conglomerate That Outsources Its Employees Outside Of The State Let Alone Country?

                At the same time, I should admit what I didn’t admit in my original comment: it’s probably better to have choices than not, and a worker is better off if there’s a job at mom and pop’s that he or she won’t apply for a job at than if there is no such job anyway.Report

              • There are a lot of cases where I’ve seen Medium Sized Corporation With Branch Offices But No Hope Of Being So Big As To Be A Massive Conglomerate That Outsources Its Employees Outside Of The State Let Alone Country change its name to Medium Sized Corporation With Branch Offices But No Hope Of Being So Big As To Be A Massive Conglomerate That Outsources Its Employees Outside Of The State Let Alone Country (That Is Now A Subsidiary of Humungous Partnership With The Motto “A Family Of Businesses”).Report

    • I’d actually say that now is an especially good time to start a business if you’ve got the financial leverage.Report

  3. Most new restaurants/bars fail fairly quickly — it’s a very competitive low-margin business. Which, unfortunately, tempts the owners to cut corners on things like sanitation in areas that aren’t visible to the customers. It would be a better piece if you were talking about regulations faced by someone starting a new tech service business, or a new light manufacturing activity.Report

    • Avatar Drew Weiss in reply to Michael Cain says:

      The fact is that most new restaurants/bars fail quickly is related to the fact that they are among the most common new businesses. That in turn speaks to the fact that barriers to entry — including regulation — are really quite low. Licences, regulations and all that is not a major road block…its a slightly annoying pain in the ass that isn’t going to stop someone who really wants to give it a try.Report

  4. Avatar Paleoprof says:

    Assuming this is true and given the political power that Massive Conglomerate, no doubt, wields is this really likely to change any time soon?Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Are regulations more onerous now than a few years ago when unemployment was much, much lower?Report

    • I can’t imagine them being less onerous now.

      They don’t tend to move in that direction without something catastrophic happening.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        That wasn’t the question.

        If A caused B, you need to explain why B is recent and A hasn’t really changed for some time.Report

        • It’s not a see-saw with only two things on it.

          There are tons and tons of dynamics at work and some things make things easier over here and some things make things more difficult over there. The economy swings like a pendulum and there are (technology-independent) businesses that would do great in 1997 that would crash and burn in 2009. There are (technology-independent) businesses that would do great in 2017 that would never get off the ground today.

          If we’re talking about macro economic issues, though, I would say that things like death by a thousand cuts regulations do more to hinder small businesses doing well than things like the minimum wage rules… and, as time goes on, these regulations serve the established players at the cost of people trying to get their foot in the door.Report

        • Mike:

          Tee hee. I hate to even partially and temporarily defend Jay, but I will. He seems to be talking about (if he was truly as erudite as Robert claimed he’d have made this explicit) job creation AT THE MARGINS.

          When unemployment is a lot lower, these “onerous” regulations aren’t at the margins. Potential employers just deal with them and hire anyway because the returns are still positive, or potential entrepreneurs decide the risk of starting the business is still worthwhile. But when those decisions are a closer call, as now, the “onerous” regulations matter more.

          There are numerous problems with that, though. One, it’s essentially a marginal case–in other words, it wouldn’t create that many jobs to reduce “onerous” regulations unless those reductions were massive. Two, since many, probably most, such regulations are a matter of municipal ordnance or state law (in fact, probably ALL the imaginary examples he lists are state/local) the coordination problem is almost impossible to solve barring a massive Federal pre-emption. Which would be hilarious to see a libertarian argue for. And Three, when employment picks back up, those non-regulations will recede from the margins just as the regulations did–we’ll simply be left with a country more at the mercy of business and corporatism.

          I know Jay would probably like that. But I wouldn’t and I guess a voting majority of the country wouldn’t, either.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to jfxgillis says:

            One, it’s essentially a marginal case–in other words, it wouldn’t create that many jobs to reduce “onerous” regulations unless those reductions were massive. Two, since many, probably most, such regulations are a matter of municipal ordnance or state law (in fact, probably ALL the imaginary examples he lists are state/local) the coordination problem is almost impossible to solve barring a massive Federal pre-emption. Which would be hilarious to see a libertarian argue for. And Three, when employment picks back up, those non-regulations will recede from the margins just as the regulations did–we’ll simply be left with a country more at the mercy of business and corporatism.

            One: Agreed.
            Two: They’re not imaginary. Mock them for being anecdotal.
            Three: If I said that you were arguing for a country more at the mercy of business and corporatism, would this be a misrepresentation of your view? Would you ask whether description of a phenomenon ought to be read as an endorsement of the same phenomenon?

            (And another thing: I hate to even partially and temporarily defend Jay, but I will.

            Stuff like this always makes me want to engage in freelance psychoanalysis of the person making such statements. I’ll spare you.)Report

            • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to Jaybird says:

              Jay:

              I’ll spare you.

              Oh, go ahead. You had no problem freelance psychoanalyzing your imaginary opopressed entrepreneur deciding after all to work for your imaginary Massive Conglomerate.

              I would indeed have mocked them for being anecdotal had you linked to or referred to anecdotes. Please please PLEASE cite the “Lemonade Stand” at the U.S. Open in Bethesda anecdote from earlier this year. I love mocking that anecdote and it’ll warm Erik’s heart to see his lemonade stand hit referenced again.

              On your most substantive and most fair point, that’s one of things that has always surprised me about libertarians/classical liberals/supply-siders and others of similar sentiment. Look, not only do I understand your point about “onerous regulation,” on a case-by-case basis, I bet I probably agree with you a lot more than you might suspect. Not as much as MattY, probably, but still, some. I recognize there’s a problem with incumbent protection, bureaucratic imperatives and regulatory capture and such.

              The problem is, whenever and wherever a marginal regulation is elimnated in service of marginal job or firm creation, and I mean whenever, as in ALWAYS, in accord with the libertarian pipedream of having some new Steve Jobs in a garage become a great success, Massive Conglomerate ALWAYS exploits that change to its own ends. We end up with 1% marginal job or firm creation and 99% corporatist exploitation.

              It just surprises me that after decades of things like that happening that libertarians haven’t figured it out yet.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to jfxgillis says:

                You had no problem freelance psychoanalyzing your imaginary opopressed entrepreneur deciding after all to work for your imaginary Massive Conglomerate.

                My opopressed entrepreneur is an amalgam of folks with whom I have worked, for the record. It’s taken from stories they’ve told me… which strikes me as coming from a much different psychic space than something like “oh, I hate that I agree on a minor point with someone with whom I disagree on other things to the point where I don’t like him or her! To the point where I want to point it out!”

                It just surprises me that after decades of things like that happening that libertarians haven’t figured it out yet.

                They tend to which is why they tend to not see “new regulation” as the answer. New regulation will get captured. Getting rid of captured regulation tends to be something that they push for. It’s the progressives who daydream about having politicians who are principled to the point where they pass laws that won’t be captured.

                But I don’t want this to become a post about Obama.Report

              • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jay:

                Oh. Not just anecdotal, but personal. And ideologically self-serving at that. So libertarian Jay has some libertarian friends who project libertarian storylines to rationalize their own failure to live up to John Galt? Why am I not surprised?

                How’s that for freelance psychoanalyzing?

                New regulation will get captured. Getting rid of captured regulation tends to be something that they push for.

                Well. Okay then. So why do you object when I conclude that you prefer a country more at the mercy of business and corporatism? As a progressive, I say “Remove the capture,” as a libertarian you say “Remove the regulation.”

                Just what kind of country do you imagine you’ll live in with business and corporatism less beholden to regulatory restraints?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to jfxgillis says:

                So libertarian Jay has some libertarian friends who project libertarian storylines to rationalize their own failure to live up to John Galt?

                That’s how you interpret my saying “it’ll be less hassle”?

                Well, I have very good news for you: There aren’t that many libertarians out there in the real world. The folks I’m thinking of are folks who found that working for giant mega-corporations was more rewarding and less risky than running their own businesses and had less hassle than, say, hiring people. Nothing John Galt about it.

                More like Eddie Willers.

                How’s that for freelance psychoanalyzing?

                Inaccurate.

                So why do you object when I conclude that you prefer a country more at the mercy of business and corporatism? As a progressive, I say “Remove the capture,” as a libertarian you say “Remove the regulation.”

                For the same reason, I expect, that you’d object to my description of your philosophy as half useful idiocy on the part of politicians who are already captured by corporations and half useful idiocy on the part of corporations who will turn your “remove the capture” catchphrase into the REMV CAPTR ACT which is little more than a handful of barriers to entry and other anti-liberty regulations masquerading as, oh, “Green-friendly policy” or what-have-you.

                Just what kind of country do you imagine you’ll live in with business and corporatism less beholden to regulatory restraints?

                One with fewer bailouts of failed companies, for one thing.Report

              • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jay:

                No, that’s how I interpert “amalgam of stories people I know have told.”

                you’d object to my description of your philosophy

                Why would I object? I just told you I recognize that incumbent protection, bureaucratic imperative, regulatory capture and such were legitimate issues. Which means that when I propose an anti-deregulation agenda in opposition to your deregulation agenda, intellectual honesty obligates me to concede that some part of what I propose can be rightly described as “incumbent protection” or “pro-regulatory capture” or whatever.

                I simply prefer having in a place a regulatory regime probably subject to capture than no regulatory regime at all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                No, that’s how I interpert “amalgam of stories people I know have told.”

                Your interpertation skills are uncharitable to the point where they give you bad readings.

                I simply prefer having in a place a regulatory regime probably subject to capture than no regulatory regime at all.

                On the continuum of where we are, I think we could go thataway for a loooooong time before we started getting anywhere *NEAR* something that looked like “no regulatory regime at all”.

                I also think that going that way for even a short time would be preferable to the status quo.Report

              • Well jfxgillis, since these companies don’t exist, there’s no empirical argument for Jaybird to make. There are studies like this one though: http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/dbs/businessschool/research%20paper%20004.pdfReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to jfxgillis says:

                (And, for the record, I am not calling your position “half useful idiocy on the part of politicians who are already captured by corporations and half useful idiocy on the part of corporations who will turn your “remove the capture” catchphrase into the REMV CAPTR ACT which is little more than a handful of barriers to entry and other anti-liberty regulations masquerading as, oh, “Green-friendly policy” or what-have-you”. I am saying that, if I did, you would have objections. I am guessing that those objections would map fairly closely to my objections to your conclusion that I “prefer a country more at the mercy of business and corporatism”.)Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jaybird says:

                “When you looked at the Republicans you saw the scum off the top of business. When you looked at the Democrats you saw the scum off the top of politics. Personally, I prefer business. A businessman will steal from you directly instead of getting the IRS to do it for him. And when Republicans ruin the environment, destroy the supply of affordable housing, and wreck the industrial infrastructure, at least they make a buck off it. The Democrats just do these things for fun.”—PJ O’RourkeReport

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

                Satire or not, best and truest book on politics I have ever read – by far.Report

              • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jay:

                Okay. Maybe a little uncharitable. But I need that to offset the earlier “brilliant” and “erudite.”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                P J is a funny man. (Which makes him damned near unique among conservative pundits, by the way. Most of them make Ann Coulter’s sledgehammer look rapier-like.)Report

              • Avatar b-psycho in reply to jfxgillis says:

                How? Political efforts supposedly meant to do so have accomplished squat so far.

                As a progressive, I say “Remove the capture,”

                Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      you mean during the Bush regime?Report

  6. Avatar jfxgillis says:

    I don’t object to the substance above as much as Christopher’s description of it as “brilliant” and Robert’s’s Best Evah! claim above.

    It’s b(l)og-standard Chamber of Commerce boilerplate and regulation House GOP talking points. And it’s not even that good in those terms. At least the CoC usually trots out some real-life bogus “victim” and the House GOP usually includes some lie that’s so outrageous it’s at least amusing.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to jfxgillis says:

      Admittedly, this would not be the first time that Bob posted something a tad hyperbolic here.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Rufus F. says:

        ..wait just a darn minue here Mr. Rufus F….’hyperbolic?’ I’ll have you know it’s an art form. The layered nuance of Mr. JB’s blog reveals a penetrating intellect that understands the insidiousness of the general/state/and local gummint in parasite mode. In the case of Obama I, it is merely his efforts at thwarting all employment and destroying the middle classes, finally and at last.Report

    • “It’s b(l)og-standard Chamber of Commerce boilerplate and regulation House GOP talking points. And it’s not even that good in those terms. At least the CoC usually trots out some real-life bogus “victim” and the House GOP usually includes some lie that’s so outrageous it’s at least amusing.”

      The CoC usually fights for the rights of huge corps to exploit people and write their own regulations. It is a lobbying cartel of the already rich and powerful. I’m talking about the bored housewife being able to make wedding cakes in her free time without having to pay an absurd barrier to entry that makes taking a chance not worth her while, or the guy selling tomatoes he’s grown in his garden just to see if there’s interest not getting sued by Monsanto, or my uncle making children’s toys and selling a few to friends and neighbors without having to pay for safety testing.

      To riff off Jaybird’s “death by a thousand cuts” reference earlier, all our legal framework, from economic policy to structural limitations on commerce has the affect of redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich. If you can’t see that or disagree with that, then please articulate why or proffer some other cogent argument instead of just standing in the way.Report

      • Christopher:

        The CoC usually fights for the rights of huge corps to exploit people and write their own regulations. It is a lobbying cartel of the already rich and powerful.

        Correct. And yet, their rhetoric is indistinguishable from the above disquisition down to the punctuation. Why do you think that is?

        That is because the benefits to the “rich and powerful” of the deregulation agenda are orders of magnitude greater than for the sole proprietor.

        all our legal framework, from economic policy to structural limitations on commerce has the effect of redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich.

        Class warfare!!Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to jfxgillis says:

          This seems to be a pattern for you.

          Instead of fighting against the thing you’re claiming to be against, you’re fighting against people you kinda agree with but you’re still fighting against them because of things that other people entirely have said.

          That cannot be that fulfilling.Report

        • “Why do you think that is?”

          Because libertarians are evil and all on the Koch and CoC payroll?Report

          • Jay & Christopher:

            Er. No. I really don’t “kinda agree with” you two because your implicit and sometimes explicit model of the political economy is completely wrong.

            Thus, when you end up saying something that seems to superficially agree with something that I might say, I don’t agree with it becauase I know the premises are … well, frankly, ridiculous.

            Christopher, I’d say “naive” rather than “evil” because what is going to happen if the agenda above is enacted is that the Kochs will get to continue and expand their poisoning of the atmosphere while, I’m sorry, but your uncle still isn’t going to be able to make a living selling potentially unsafe toys, even if the law allowed him to.

            Stories about lemonade stands and bored housewives who might want to bake wedding cakes do not portray an accurate model of the actual political economy we actually live in, which is a large, incredibly complex system dominated by large, incredibly complex institutions in varying degrees of coordination and conflict.

            And what do I get from you guys? An illusion where if only if only if only we could all own our own little wooden-toy or wedding cake business then we could all get rich if we could all just sell wedding cakes and wooden toys to each other as sole proprietors.

            As I said–ridiculous. In a sense, it’s not even Capitalistic, it’s PRE-Capital.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to jfxgillis says:

              You’re not arguing against our arguments, you’re arguing against us.

              An illusion where if only if only if only we could all own our own little wooden-toy or wedding cake business then we could all get rich if we could all just sell wedding cakes and wooden toys to each other as sole proprietors.

              I never mentioned getting rich.

              I’d more take the tack that you don’t have the right to prevent this woman from selling her wedding cakes… and thus, by extension, I don’t see where The Government would get the right to prevent this woman from selling her wedding cakes.

              Instead of arguing against our positions, you’re arguing against the positions that other people may have said… but those other people aren’t here.Report

              • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jay:

                You’re not arguing against our arguments, you’re arguing against us.

                I sincerely don’t think so. As I believe I tried to say, I’m arguing against frequently unstated premises, in fact, those frequently unstated premises are frequently unstated MAJOR premises.

                I don’t see where The Government would get the right to prevent this woman from selling her wedding cakes.

                And yet, earlier you seemed to deny, or at least slough off, the idea that you were proposing “no regulatory regime at all.” Well, you know, regulating food production and sales so as to protect the health, safety and value-received of the public is one of the oldest and most-established “rights” of government (I’d call it more a duty or obligation, actually).

                So bored housewife cooks and sells wedding cake and nobody has the right to say she can’t. But she’s bored and screws up and her customers get sick. Then what?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                So bored housewife cooks and sells wedding cake and nobody has the right to say she can’t. But she’s bored and screws up and her customers get sick. Then what?

                Then we deal with stuff like “harm was done” and investigate if a crime was committed. If it was, we can prosecute. There are also civil issues at stake and a civil trial could be held if there is sufficient evidence of carelessness or negligence.

                Here’s another possibility for you that you may find horrific: There’s a househusband whose wife works. He stays home with the kids.

                He cooks and screws up (oh, that wacky househusband! He gave them chocolate cake for breakfast!) and his wife and children get food poisoning.

                What should the government do?

                Should this man be allowed to cook again?Report

              • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jay:

                Then we deal with stuff like “harm was done”

                Fine. But …

                Frankly, I think that’s ridiculous. It was always ridiculous but it’s even more ridiculous nowadays. I do not want to sue or prosecute after I get poisoned, I want to not get poisoned in the first place.

                However, it may in fact be that most people would rather get poisoned and sue or prosecute afterward than not get poisoned in the first place. In which case, you should be able to win elections and install that kind of regulatory regime. But I haven’t seen that happening in the advanced economies for the last 140 years or so. Because that’s not what most people want.

                I suppose the incompetent husband would live a life of pain and regret if he accidentally killed his family. That’s punishment enough.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to jfxgillis says:

                I do not want to sue or prosecute after I get poisoned, I want to not get poisoned in the first place.

                Learn to cook or marry a person that you would trust with your life. I suggest that you do the former.

                Don’t trust anybody.

                I suppose the incompetent husband would live a life of pain and regret if he accidentally killed his family. That’s punishment enough.

                So you think he should be allowed to kill his family?

                What if we were talking about a woman instead of a man?

                At what point should the government be protecting children?Report

              • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jay:

                At what point should the government be protecting children?

                I was say the default is at every point absent a positive argument to the contrary. Now the degree to which such positive arguments might overturn the default position is highly debateable (and it seems like Tod’s interested in exactly that in his new front-pager). I think there’s a good argument against protecting a child from “riding a bike to school” but I don’t think there is for “shooting an Uzi at a gun show.”Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to jfxgillis says:

                “[I]t may in fact be that most people would rather get poisoned and sue or prosecute afterward than not get poisoned in the first place.”

                And won’t someone think about the children, rolling around on the floor in terrible, terrible pain from that tainted chocolate cake. And you want to let that happen. How dare you, sir? How DARE you!Report

              • Avatar jfxgillis in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Density:

                Chocolate wedding cake? How tacky. THAT should be criminal violation.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                And, yeah, I have a friend who is a stay at home mom. One of her hobbies is to bake cakes and then to decorate the holy hell out of them.

                Spiderman cakes for boys, Dora cakes for girls, and art deco cakes for grownups. Over the summer, she made one or two of these a week. (It gets cold early in Colorado… what can I say?)

                She gave the cakes to the people in question. “Can you make a cake for our little Jimmy?” “Sure!”, came the answer.

                Now:

                To what extent do you think that the government should have put a stop to this?

                If money changed hands, would that change the answer?

                Why?Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:

                if money doesn’t change hands, then she’s at least got a leg to stand on, under good samaritan rules.
                If money does change hands, then she’s in some sort of contract.

                we could just run this sort of thing as “here’s the checklist, check off what you do and don’t do” , including such things as using expired eggs, washing hands, licking the bowl. Then you’d have a decent metric for a contract, ya?

                … would you say something different if she was selling bathtub cheese?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kimmi says:

                We buy some of our fruits and vegetables from gentlemen wearing overalls who stand behind the counter of an open-air stand.

                Should I be worried? Wouldn’t it be better for me to buy fruits and vegetables from a place like Safeway?

                To answer the question: I know what baking a cake tends to entail (e.g., baking). I know what making beer tends to entail (e.g., the beer will smell/taste bad if it is bad). When it comes to cheese? Eh… I dunno. I probably wouldn’t buy it.

                But I wouldn’t feel like I had the right to prevent her from feeding such to her children.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:

                bathtub cheese routinely carries tuberculosis.

                Do you object to someone dosing their children with mercury, as used medicinally under certain strains of VooDoo (vodun)?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Should I try to prevent them from having their children vaccinated because it causes autism?

                Exactly how much intervention into how you raise your kids do you think I should be able to exercise?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kimmi says:

                “we could just run this sort of thing as “here’s the checklist, check off what you do and don’t do”…”

                You know, I was thinking that you weren’t an anarchist-capitalist, but then you come out with “there’s no need for regulations or laws because everything should just be a matter of negotiated contracts between individuals”, which is the ancap equivalent of “christ has died, christ is risen, christ will come again”.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to DensityDuck says:

                aww, at least you ain’t calling me a “commie-dem” like that cheeky bastard. 😉

                I throw it out there. I think it’s a reasonable arrangement on a variety of things (we do use something like that in creating housing contracts after all). I think it is entirely inappropriate under any circumstances where the contract’s execution may leave you without the faculties to properly enforce it via prosecution. 😉Report

            • “Stories about lemonade stands and bored housewives who might want to bake wedding cakes do not portray an accurate model of the actual political economy we actually live in.”

              That is so totally right. Those things never happen to anyone. I think they’re just made up by Koch-loving, twelve-year-old libertarians who don’t know the difference between “brown” and “dark tan”.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Christopher Carr says:

        small claims court. I can rep myself, judges tend to be sympathetic, and the big mega corporation gets to hire oodles of expensive lawyers. Or just lose the case.

        ditto the case of putting a lien on BoA’s office, and the sherriff showing up to remove $3000 (or so) of office supplies (copiers etc).

        Agree in principle and on the majority of things.

        It’s funny when you get fined on a Big Business Regulation! Your fine is … less than one cent. Please do not Pay.Report

  7. Avatar Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya says:

    “cui bono” —> I’d point out that in the vast majority of cases, the regulations tend to benefit the established businesses.
    – Once you’ve jumped all the hurdles, you probably want the others to have to jump the same hurdles (why should *they* get a free pass, etc., etc.)
    – Ideally, if you could get *new* regulations passed (that, optimally, grandfather you in!), life would be brilliant…Report

    • Avatar Lyle in reply to Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya says:

      Amen for example who most wants the restriction on the number of cabs those who own the medallions. Business likes regulation as long as the fellow behind the tree is the one being regulate (to change Sen Longs statement about taxes). Everybody wants the government to protect them. Of course in the old days, the protectors just took a cut of the proceeds of the business, pay them and you were ok, otherwise it might have been unhealthy.Report

  8. Avatar Saysomething says:

    These types of regulations may indeed be hindrances to small businesses. But they are local regulations, not federal and therefore not in the purview of Obama’s proposal or anything Congress can legislate.

    Further, while they may be burdensome, the other bars/businesses downtown were able to navigate them and open up. If there is demand for a business or service, an entrepreneur will make it happen and meet the demand.

    As is always the case, the real driver of business is an existing market for that business. No demand, no market. When no demand exists, no amount of easy entry into the non-existing market will magically create a population of people willing to spend money.Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    The guy who would have hired a bartender and a person to walk drinks around is now a cubicle monkey who is counting down until he gets outsourced to Singapore.

    Is there actually much outsourcing to Singapore going on? Singapore is now quite a bit wealthier than the US on a per-capita basis, so I wouldn’t think there would be a lot of cost-savings to be had.

    This is, of course, despite and not because of their low taxes and anemic public sector.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Is there actually much outsourcing to Singapore going on? Singapore is now quite a bit wealthier than the US on a per-capita basis, so I wouldn’t think there would be a lot of cost-savings to be had.

      From the late 90’s until 2007, I worked for one of the Gigantic Multi-Nationals here in town. From 2004 until 2007, I got to watch entire sections be outsourced to Singapore… to the point where no one in Singapore would work for our wages and we had to bus people in from Malaysia to support our servers.

      Maybe we’re not outsourcing to Singapore today like we did just a few years back… but, lemme tell ya, from 2004 until 2007? Whoa, mamma.

      (I have some quality stories about that time as well. My servers were down for less than 20 minutes or you knew why. Now they don’t even bother responding to tickets until they get around to feeling like it. Two *DAY* downtimes are not uncommon.)Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird says:

        Huh. That’s interesting. Maybe it’s because Singapore has the combination of a rich country’s infrastructure and access to a poor country’s labor force.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          At the tail end of Clinton, Maribou and I paid off her college loans (much smaller than the ones I had accumulated) and, for a while there, we got one Canadian dollar for between 60-70 cents. (There was one visit where the rate was *UNDER* 60 cents. It was 59-point-something.) We stayed at hotels and ate at restaurants that felt a *LOT* pricier than they actually were.

          This was at the tail end of 99, maybe the beginning of 2000 (it was definitely before 9/11).

          I imagine that outsourcing was a way for a company to make millions or billions in India, China, or Singapore. If folks are happy to make 10k a year over there, why pay someone over here five or ten times that? They’ve got similar skill sets to the folks who had MCSEs over here and, while there may be *SOME* language issues, think of the savings!

          And the first company got all of the people who had MCSE skills for real. And the second company got some folks who had kinda MCSE skills. And the third company was disappointed with the quality and they said “hey, we could bid 25 cents more per hour on the guys working for the first company…” and then there were bidding wars for employees and you would not believe some of the draconian rules the Managed Service companies had out there in India… sign your life away stuff and if you go to another company, they can sue you for the stuff they trained you on, that sort of thing… and then the dollar got weaker and weaker and weaker and they still had all of these contracts with the managed services…

          And then we started hearing stories from the folks in Singapore about the Malaysian people stealing jobs from real Singaporeans.

          It was hard, at the time, to be appropriately sympathetic.Report

  10. Avatar Anderson says:

    I’ve never personally been involved in starting at a business, but I take you at your word (with other anecdotal evidence) that onerous regulations put a damper on start-ups. Yet, if we accept that business regulations are a natural by-product of rational decisions in a political and economic environment, then it behooves us to take a relative look at the ease of doing business: http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings.

    The U.S. ranks fifth (behind the proverbial Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, etc) overall, with high rankings on “starting a business”, “dealing with construction permits”, and “registering property.” Not perfect or number one mind you, but far more entrepreneurial-friendly than what is seen in high-growth countries like Turkey, Brazil, and India. 120 days to start a business in Brazil vs six in America. The cost of doing business (fees as % of income per capita) is 1.4% in U.S. vs 56.5 % in India

    Guess I’m just trying to say that we have red tape here, but it’s not the kind of atrocious, graft-laced red tape that originally gave the term meaning. We treat our business folks fairly well, though big business more so because of their outsized influence in lobbying. But Chambers of Commerce are generally quite powerful too. So, room for improvement? Yes. The most important factor hindering economic growth? Doubt it.Report

  11. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I basically think that this is absolutely an issue at the margins, but as Mike Schilling says, it simply can’t explain material fluctuations in employment levels, which rather clearly track with the pace of growth, and (that I know of) not with changes in red tape.

    But it also the case that it only takes a spark to start a fire, and what we need is a massive wildfire of hiring to start. And something that causally matters only at the margins could nevertheless be significant enough to be preventing the spark the small tinder of small business from getting the hiring fire stated. So I don’t dismiss the point Jaybird makes here in the least. I personally tend to think that expecting new businesses to lead us out of this hole is not terribly realistic, but the same logic can apply to hiring decisions by existing firms. (Also note that I merely say I don’t dismiss this argument: the standard liberal line would be that the idea that regulation is what is preventing hiring is laughable hooey & that obviously if demand in the economy warranted it, employers and entrpreneurs would quickly find that it’s not such a drag to fill out a few forms after all, etc…, and I don’t reject that view either. I think there’s more or less a fact of the matter on it – perhaps a combination of both , and I just don’t know what that FotM is.)

    But I also don’t think Jaybird should be so dismissive of Saysomething’s observation that local regulations aren’t something that we can change in a coordinated way that could set a national economic wildfire, which is what we need. That is a reaaly, really long, uphill battle that everyone who is inclined must fight in their own home communities, and we need a more coordinate-able, quicker, stronger response than that to this situation (IMO).

    But! Not to worry, because as their response to Obama’s jobs bill, the Republicans have essentially adopted Jaybird’s basic argument that regulation is an obstacle to hiring — and I think they’d been be better off conceding that regulation matters at the margins but making the argument that I made above that the margins can make the difference — indeed they take it further and say that it is the problem that is keeping employers from hiring (at and the problem that government is spend just too much damn money!) Obviously, they couldn’t make alcohol and bar licenses the centerpiece of a federal slate of deregulation, but I presume they focused on federal regulations that they think are most problematic for “job-creators” in doing the work for which they are named in a good-faith way. At least, that’s my good-faith presumption. And obviously, a lot of the kind of paperwork involved in hiring and firing that Jay mentioned upthread relating to the “laziness factor” actually is more federal in nature than the new-business regs he highlights in the OP.

    So I wonder, JB: have you had a chance to look at the Repubs’ regulation-focused jobs response bill or a summary thereof? Do you like what you see there? I’d be honestly interested to know what you think of it.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      …Or anyone else who tends to think regulation is a major factor standing in the way of hiring and growth, for that matter.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I think you have it right Michael. There are many causes of unemployment and they interact non-linearly. The recession is clearly the primary cause of unemployment at the moment, but other factors can magnify or mitigate the effects of a recession.

      For instance, the standard Keynesian theory explains unemployment in a recession by using nominal rigidities, which is to say, employers can’t cut pay so they have to cut jobs instead. A minimum wage makes wages even more downwardly rigid, which could make a recession worse.

      On the other hand, the US is known to have a faster than usual “snap-back” from recessionary conditions. I strongly suspect that your flexible labour market rules (i.e. the ease with which you can fire people) is part of the reason. You see, if you can fire someone easily you’ll be more comfortable in taking the risk of hiring them.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

      JB: have you had a chance to look at the Repubs’ regulation-focused jobs response bill or a summary thereof? Do you like what you see there? I’d be honestly interested to know what you think of it.

      I have not because I’m sure it’s a giveaway to established players at the expense of everybody else. Is it paring away at bad stuff or does it add new “protections” and the like?Report

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