IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Enzi Op-Ed on Jobs (Politico)

Politico -- Government blocking jobs
Senator Mike Enzi
June 23, 2011 06:28 AM EDT

A job is essential to achieving the American dream. But today, there are millions of Americans out of work.

We continue to wait for the economy to bounce back, and start creating the jobs to keep America strong. But Congress and this administration have not done their part to foster the healthy, job-creating economy we need.

What they have done is place burdensome new health care requirements on struggling American families, piled onerous regulations on America’s energy industry and even penalized homegrown U.S. businesses for creating jobs in states outside the control of organized labor.

We have heard plenty of talk about job creation — but the rhetoric simply does not match up with any action. The truth is the most significant step the federal government can take toward greater job growth is to get out of the way.

Creating jobs starts with the federal government reducing the regulatory burden it places on employers — like the new health care law, which is driving up premium costs for families even as it is paralyzing employers unsure of future obligations. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama and his congressional supporters are fighting this effort every step of the way.

The same attitude is also directed toward the U.S. domestic energy industry. The president’s bureaucratic foot-dragging and burdensome regulations threaten one of the few U.S. industries that is growing and could potentially produce thousands and thousands of jobs.

Not only will increased production of home-grown energy protect our nation against unstable global energy markets, it could put thousands of men and women to work, making good wages.

Last month alone, the mining industry created more than 7,000 jobs. The nation’s domestic energy industry could create even more jobs. Unfortunately, it is hampered by the administration’s efforts to slow the permitting process for new mining and drilling activities and also the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The result of this misguided energy policy could mean increased prices for all Americans — which only digs our economic hole deeper. The American people are burdened with a weak economy and a struggling job market — higher energy costs can only threaten what little economic progress has been made.

Instead of a moratorium on new domestic energy permits, this administration should embrace a sector of U.S. industry that can potentially inject billions of dollars into our economy.

Government policies should help instill confidence, encouraging companies to hire more employees and expand their businesses, instead of imposing a stream of regulations that smother innovation. Unfortunately, this administration is penalizing U.S. companies that are trying to grow.

For example, the National Labor Relations Board’s recent complaint to prevent Boeing from expanding production into South Carolina defies common sense. This action was especially troubling because Boeing has been working on this new production facility for more than two years. And the decision to bring a complaint against Boeing occurred only months before the facility was due to open.

The new Boeing plant represents thousands of skilled, high-paying jobs for Americans hungry for steady work. The matter will now be decided in court, but the NLRB’s effort to stop Boeing from growing will most likely have chilling consequences on other U.S. companies looking to expand their businesses.

This government is sending private industry the message: Grow at your own risk. Businesses need certainty before they invest billions of dollars in new plants. In an unpredictable environment, business will simply decide to move away.

Everyone can agree that America should be in the business of exporting planes, not jobs. It is no surprise that, in reference to overly burdensome regulation and bureaucracy, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley recently said, “Sometimes you can’t defend the indefensible.”

As our nation struggles to regain its economic footing, one thing is clear: stalling the growth of the domestic energy production industry or increasing the regulatory burden on American businesses, is unlikely to help job growth.

To ensure that there are solid, high-paying jobs that form the foundation of the American dream, this administration must stop getting in the way of job creation.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) is the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

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