President, Congress Must Acknowledge Regulatory Protections Preserve Jobs, Strengthen Our Economy and Nation

A Statement from the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards

Sept. 7, 2011

Contact: Rich Robinson, Public Citizen, (202) 588-7773 or
Brian Gumm, OMB Watch, (202) 683-4812 or

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, President Barack Obama will announce a much-anticipated jobs plan. Congressional Republicans have already previewed their response: stepped-up attacks on the standards and safeguards that protect our air, our water, our food, our nation’s working families and our economy. They will continue this line of attack despite the fact that deregulation led the country down the road to financial collapse and 8 million lost jobs, as well as a growing body of evidence that public protections can prevent significant health care costs and help provide the much-needed economic stability that spurs job creation. The president and Congress need to acknowledge deregulation’s role in American job losses if we are going to have an honest conversation about job creation and our regulatory system.

A recent survey of business economists – including those who work in the private sector – found that 80 percent believe our regulatory system is good for the economy. Others have pointed out that not only are regulations a necessary foundation for any business, deregulation can actually have a negative effect. When Congress and executive branch agencies rolled back the long-standing regulatory standards of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, blocked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) from regulating financial derivatives and refused to enforce the financial rules that were still in place, it facilitated the financial meltdown of 2008 that created the recession and our massive jobs deficit.

As lawmakers work to put Americans back to work, they need to keep in mind that regulatory standards encourage industries to innovate, to shift to creating products for the future and to step into new opportunities. Enforcing and strengthening environmental and safety standards, for example, can also encourage American businesses to become industry leaders in emerging sectors.

Financial safeguards are crucial. They help set the rules of the road, and they can also protect the economy from reckless, irresponsible behavior that has pushed the financial sector to the brink and severely damaged millions of Americans’ credit ratings and retirement funds.

It is also important to remember that the benefits of regulations far outweigh their costs. The latest Office of Management and Budget (OMB) report shows that from 2001 through 2010, the benefits of major regulations reviewed substantially exceeded their costs. It put the total annual benefits “between $132 billion and $655 billion, while the estimated annual costs are in the aggregate between $44 billion and $62 billion.” That estimate puts benefits at 2 and 15 times more than the cost.

Gutting standards and competing in a race to the bottom on wages and public protections undermines U.S. business competitiveness for the future. Americans need high-quality, stable jobs that provide for their families and their futures. Congress and the president must focus on helping to create those jobs while preserving and strengthening the system of safeguards that is good for our health and safety, our economy, our families and our communities.


The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is an alliance of consumer, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups, as well as concerned individuals, joined in the belief that our country’s system of regulatory safeguards provides a stable framework that secures our quality of life and paves the way for a sound economy that benefits us all. For more information about the coalition, go to