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More 'uncertainty' insanity

August 29, 2011: 3:47 PM ET

More absurdity from the "uncertainty" police.

Are you certain about uncertainty?

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) today proposed cutting 10 federal regulations that he believes are the "most harmful" to new job creation. In a memo to other House Republicans, Cantor wrote:

"By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations, we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers."


My gripe here isn't with the specific regulations Cantor wants to cut. In fact, I'm not certain what all of them are, save for some EPA rules and the National Labor Relations Board's ability to relocate jobs (read: Boeing situation). If he wants to make his case that the cost/benefit analysis of these 10 regs is improperly weighted toward the former, then have at it.

All I'm asking is that Cantor -- and everyone else -- stop talking about how "uncertainty" over government action (or inaction) is preventing American business from hiring. It is simply untrue, as I've discussed here and here. Do you remember the last time we had certainty over either future government policy or macro economic conditions? Me neither.

Moreover, doesn't Cantor's proposal actually produce more uncertainty, rather than less?

As of this moment, business may not like certain regulations, but it knows what those regulations are. Proposing that certain rules be rescinded, particularly when President Obama and Congressional Democrats are likely to object, could cause business owners to create multiple hiring scenarios -- and perhaps wait on the sidelines until the molasses-like legislative process is concluded. And what if the rules are abolished, but Democrats pledge to reinstate them? Uncertainty all over the place!

I guess I just yearn for the simpler days when politicians just called rules job-creating or job-killing. Sure it's usually hyperbolic, but at least its less asinine than "uncertainty."

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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