Woopsies. It’s the death of yet another cherished Republican talking point:
With the economies of the U.S. and Europe sputtering along on fumes, politicians are quick to blame regulation and taxation as the main cause of a lackluster business environment. Yet, according to the World Bank’s 212 page “Doing Business 2012″ report, released on Wednesday, there is less red tape for setting up shop in the U.S. than there is in all of Europe, Latin America, Africa and most of Asia.
The World Bank uses indicators such as time spent to set up a business to getting credit, among other things, in benchmarking the 183 countries it ranks in “Doing Business”. The report measures and tracks changes in the regulations applied to domestic companies in 11 areas in their life cycle–such as investors rights, taxation, cross border transactions, legality and enforcement of contracts and bankruptcy law. A fundamental premise of doing business is that economic activity requires good rules that are transparent and accessible to all, not just big business. Such regulations should be efficient, the World Bank states, striking a balance between safeguarding some important aspects of the business environment and avoiding distortions that impose unreasonable costs on businesses. “Where business regulation is burdensome and competition limited, success depends more on whom you know than on what you can do. But where regulations are relatively easy to comply with and accessible to all who need to use them, anyone with talent and a good idea should be able to start and grow a business (legally),” the World Bank said.
Where does the supposed regulation and taxation crippled U.S. stand in the rankings? It is number four, trailing behind New Zealand (3), Hong Kong (2) and Singapore (1).
That’s the uber-liberal Socialisticky World Bank, you know, the one that used to be run by Iraq War hawk/creepy neocon Paul Wolfowitz and is now run by Iraq War hawk/creepy neocon Robert Zoellick.
Oh, dear. So American businesses aren’t strangled by burdensome regulations and taxes? It’s not the fault of the EPA and OSHA and Obamacare? But that’s the exact opposite of what we hear from every single Republican in Washington — including every member of the insane clown posse that is the GOP presidential field (except maybe Rick Santorum, who seems to be blaming everything on gays and vaginas).
So in other words: once again Republicans are wrong about the economy. I know, y’all are shocked. Shocked!
The U.S. economy is suffering because of a combination of historic deleveraging, lackluster support from fiscal policy makers in Washington, and a general, yet pervasive, lack of business confidence. The U.S. economy is not suffering because of taxes, energy policy, or Obamacare as data and polls have shown consistently.
I would add, the number one reason the U.S. economy is suffering is because of decreased demand: plain and simple. Or, as Paul Krugman famously wrote last year: “It’s demand, stupid”:
I’ve said this before, but Catherine Rampell has a very nice chart making the point: if you ask businesses — as opposed to their lobbyists — what their problem is, you find no hint of the stories the usual suspects are telling you about government interference, political uncertainty, etc.. Businesses aren’t hiring because of poor sales, period, end of story….
Yes. We keep hearing this over and over. And yet, Republicans remain strangely attached to their false notions of the world, all evidence to the contrary. I really don’t get it. This is a political party completely divorced from reality.