This week, the hottest Republican talking point outside of $16 muffins is the claim that the federal government is fining employers for hiring more workers. It's not true but it's spreading like wildfire on networks such as Fox News and publications such as Forbes, Real Clear Politics, and Human Events. The meme derives from the congressional testimony of Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff on Sept. 13 in which he complained that because of "security regulations" he was fined $15,000 for hiring "too many brokers in 2008." Schiff, who was Ron Paul's economic adviser during his 2008 presidential campaign, caused quite the outrage.
"He was actually penalized by the government for hiring too many people," said Dana Perino on Fox News's The Five. "That's the message of this administration," piped in co-host Andrea Tantaros. "They really want to crush the job creators." Human Events staff writer John Hayward agreed, noting that Schiff "knows a few things about how the government can destroy jobs" in a post sub-titled "How the government kills jobs."
It's quite the allegation. Is there any truth to it? On it's face, it's not ridiculous to assume that the "security regulations" Schiff was testifying under oath about were imposed by the federal government. That's who typically regulates the economy. But in this case, Schiff's company Euro Pacific Capital was fined by an independent regulatory organization called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. We raised this point with Euro Pacific Capital communications director Andrew Schiff (Peter's brother) but he brushed it off. "It technically is not part of the government but the issue we have is that the government requires the financial industry to have the [regulatory] body."