You are hereRemapping Debate: Unintended consequences: Chamber report shows that “good” for business may be bad for people

Remapping Debate: Unintended consequences: Chamber report shows that “good” for business may be bad for people


March 7, 2011- Mississippi is not used to getting good ratings for much of anything.

According to the Census Bureau, the state has the lowest per-capita income in the country, as well as the lowest life-expectancy. It ranks 47th on the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual Report Card on American Education, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which rates states on the basis of child welfare, puts Mississippi dead last.

So Gov. Haley Barbour was understandably pleased when Mississippi ranked highly in a new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, titled “The Impact of State Employment Policies on Job Growth.”

The report, which came out last week, is based on an analysis of the labor and employment policies in every state, and takes into account factors such as the amount of state minimum wage beyond the federal requirements, private sector union membership, and maximum unemployment benefits.

States are then rated “good,” “fair” or “poor” for job growth potential. So Mississippi, which has no state minimum wage, low union membership, and employment discrimination standards that go no further than mandated by federal law, ranks “good” on the Chamber’s scale for job creation potential. Pennsylvania, by contrast, ranks “poor,” because of its extensive child labor laws, relatively high wage standards, and high union density.

Barbour officiated at the presentation of the Chamber report, where he said that, in his tenure as governor, he had seen “no benefit to safety" or to workers in adding "another layer of regulations” to existing federal law.

Some economists have already questioned the report’s methodology, saying that many of the policies it claims are “poor” for job creation actually have a tenuous relationship with employment, at best.

“There’s a whole literature [on] whether higher minimum wages in states lead those states to have less employment growth or less small business creation,” said Mark Price, a labor economist with the Keystone Research Center in Pennsylvania. “That literature is very contentious. It’s not clear that there’s any impact at all.”

When Remapping Debate asked Jeffrey Eisenach, managing director at Navigant Economics and an author of the report, how he had come to the conclusion that the factors he had chosen actually have an effect on employment growth, he acknowledged that “there are nuances on all of these things,” but said he ultimately made a judgment call about what the “bulk of the academic literature says.”

The report only cites a handful of studies for each topic, however, some of them written by Eisenach himself. Eisenach, a long proponent of deregulation, has served as a fellow for the conservative think tanks American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, and authored a report in 1989 called “A White House Strategy for Deregulation.”

FULL STORY HERE:

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