You could reasonably make the argument that the new smog regulations that the Obama administration backtracked on might be costly for heavy polluters such as public utilities and manufacturers. Furthermore, you could argue that public utilities are already the target of extensive regulation, and that they are taxed highly, usually with separate state public utility taxes on top of federal.
But the Obama administration’s argument that the smog regulations would “hurt job creation” is just ludicrous. I mean, it doesn’t even begin to make sense.
First, it presumes that the reason companies aren’t hiring is because they don’t have enough money. This is patently false; companies have giant piles of cash and don’t know what to do with them.
Second, it presumes that the regulations themselves somehow constrict the companies’ ability to hire new workers. Yet, generally, payroll considerations have little or nothing to do with regulatory regimes, and any correlation is probably slim at best.
Third, and most importantly, it ignores any demand-side problems. The reason companies aren’t hiring is because they don’t have customers to buy what they want to sell. There’s an enormous gap in demand that is not being filled, particularly as government spending plateaus off or falls. Austerity basically sucks for everyone.
If the Obama administration doesn’t want to issue these anti-smog regulations for tactical reasons or for scientific reasons, that’s their choice. The Obama administration’s idiotic argument that this will “save/create jobs” only makes him look worse to liberals and will buy him exactly no good will from independents/conservatives.