Republicans have been making two main arguments about the economy – that taxes are killing business, and that regulation is killing business. With regard to regulation, former Reagan and elder Bush adviser Bruce Bartlett runs the data today from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and finds companies blaming lack of demand, not surfeit of regulation, for layoffs. He writes:
In my opinion, regulatory uncertainty is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. In other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, not a serious effort to deal with high unemployment.
Another report shows that regulation as the primary complaint by businesses has ticked up under the Obama administration, but is still lower than under the first President Bush.
And with regard to taxes, a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities chart below shows that in recent times, tax hikes have at least not gotten in the way.