Still Thought We Wouldn't Notice: Blanche Lincoln Cites Debunked SBA Study Again, Highlighting Different Statistic

by Ben Somberg

If I didn’t know better, I’d think Blanche Lincoln was trying to fool us. The former Senator currently heads the National Federation of Independent Business’s anti-regulatory campaign, and is in DC today to push for a freeze on new regulations. For her accompanying op-ed in Politico, how would she make the case that regulations are a huge problem?

Back in August, Lincoln wrote that regulations cost the U.S. economy $1.75 trillion a year, according to a report commissioned by the Small Business Administration in September 2010. But that study was thoroughly debunked, by a CPR paper, by the Congressional Research Service, and by the Economic Policy Institute.

Two people, CPR President Rena Steinzor and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman, specifically criticized Lincoln’s use of the thoroughly debunked number. In a subsequent post, Lincoln didn’t mention “$1.75 trillion” but instead wrote: “Currently, federal regulations are draining nearly 12 percent of U.S. GDP annually.” That figure, I noted at the time, was simply a different way of reporting the same statistic from the same debunked SBA report.

So what’s Lincoln’s new stat? Her op-ed today has no mention of $1.75 trillion, or 12 percent of U.S. GDP. But it has this:

Regulation has had a disproportionately negative impact on small businesses. Smaller firms pay 37 percent more in compliance than their larger counterparts.

Straight out of the highlights of the SBA report. I wonder, how will Lincoln repackage this debunked study next?



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