Thought We Wouldn't Notice: Blanche Lincoln Quietly Switches to New Version of Debunked SBA Regulatory Costs Stat

Ben Somberg

Aug. 12, 2011

Former Senator Blanche Lincoln, now heading the National Federation of Independent Business’s new anti-regulatory campaign, faced criticism in recent days for citing the debunked SBA study claiming regulations cost $1.75 trillion in a year. The NFIB used that stat last week in launching its campaign (see ThinkProgress), and Lincoln cited the number in a National Journal forum post on Monday:

While some federal regulations are important, it costs the U.S. economy a staggering $1.75 trillion a year to comply with them, according to a report commissioned by the Small Business Administration last September.

Two respondents on the forum, CPR President Rena Steinzor and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman, specifically criticized Lincoln’s use of the thoroughly debunked number. In a new post Wednesday, Lincoln didn’t mention “$1.75 trillion” but instead wrote:

Currently, federal regulations are draining nearly 12 percent of U.S. GDP annually.

Where’d that new number come from? Doesn’t sound familiar. There was no citation. Let’s see, U.S. GDP is about $14.7 trillion; multiply that by 12 percent and you get about… $1.75 Trillion.

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