‘Republicans are listening’? To whom?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), responding to this morning’s job numbers, insisted “excessive federal regulations” have “left small businesses unable to hire.” He added, “Republicans are listening and focusing on removing barriers to job growth.”

Listening to whom exactly? They’re certainly not listening to small business owners, who are saying the opposite of what Boehner arguing.

Politicians and business groups often blame excessive regulation and fear of higher taxes for tepid hiring in the economy. However, little evidence of that emerged when McClatchy canvassed a random sample of small business owners across the nation. […]

McClatchy reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation, whether uncertainty over taxes affected their hiring plans and whether the health care overhaul was helping or hurting their business.

Their response was surprising.

None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath. [emphasis added]

A Miami-based small businessman working in the hospitality industry said, “Government regulations are not ‘choking’ our business…. In order to do business in today’s environment, government regulations are necessary and we must deal with them. The health and safety of our guests depend on regulations. It is the government regulations that help keep things in order.”

So, what is standing in the way of hiring? According to the small-business owners surveyed, there were a variety of factors, including the high cost of insurance, but the common thread seemed to be a lack of customers.

Republicans may not like the rules of supply and demand, but they have not yet been repealed. The private sector hires more workers when more folks are buying their goods and services. Fortunately, the government can play a role in boosting, as it did in 2009 when the recession technically ended.

Unfortunately, congressional Republicans refuse to even consider boosting demand, and actually want to do the opposite: take money out of the economy, lay off more public-sector workers, and cut off stimulative benefits like unemployment insurance.

“Republicans are listening”? If only that were true.

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