Who better to explain why firms aren't hiring than the nation's largest business federation? How to create jobs was a central focus of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's State of American Business address today, given by its President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. It's 2011 outlook was on the optimistic end of the spectrum, asserting that the year will provide 3.2% GDP growth and 2.4 to 2.6 million net new jobs. Of course, that will only bring down the unemployment rate by about 1%. What's holding the private sector back from hiring more aggressively?
The Chamber emphasized the "regulatory tsunami" Washington has imposed over the past few years as one of the central problems. It is very concerned with the stress that last year's health care reform puts on businesses, citing the 159 new agencies, commissions panels, and other bodies the legislation creates. It also attacked the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. Here the Donahue cited big numbers too:
Dodd-Frank contains 259 mandated rulemakings, another 188 suggested rulemakings, 63 reports, and 59 studies. My grandchildren will be old and retired before it is all implemented.
He also worries about the Environmental Protection Agency's aggressive approach to rulemaking, citing 342 new rules in the process of being developed and completed. The Chamber said it is not against climate change rules, but wants Congress to impose them instead of the EPA.