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House Republicans committed a Freudian typo in their much-hyped bill to stop government regulation, turning the bill from a temporary freeze into a permanent halt.

The “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act” is supposed to freeze much of the federal government’s regulatory power until the unemployment rate goes down to 6 percent. This is a bad enough idea to begin with — as former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert points out in this scathing editorial, freezing the government’s ability to create any new regulations is unbelievably dangerous — but an error in the text would actually make the bill even worse.

As George Zornick reports in The Nation, the bill actually states that the government cannot create any new regulations until employment reaches 6 percent.

(b) DETERMINATION.—The Secretary of Labor shall submit a report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget when the Secretary determines that the Bureau of Labor Statistics average of monthly employment rates for any quarter beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act is equal to or less than 6.0 percent.

In other words, the freeze would be in effect until unemployment reaches an astronomical 94 percent. By this point, one would assume that the government would have greater concerns than the end of the Red Tape Reduction Act.

None of the Republicans’ public rhetoric has suggested that they are plotting to freeze government regulation until the end of days, so it can be safely assumed that they merely committed a catastrophic typo. Still, despite the absurdity of their error, it’s important to note that the Red Tape Reduction Act is no joke. If passed into law, the bill would leave the government literally incapable of passing rules to safeguard the environment, protect consumers, provide aid to veterans, and fulfill a host of its other basic functions. What’s worse, there’s no evidence that such a freeze would actually create a single job. As Boehlert put it in his editorial, calling referring to the bill as a job creation act “borders on self-parody” given the long term damage that it could to our economy.

Freezing government regulation until unemployment reaches six percent wouldn’t be as bad as freezing it forever, but it’s honestly not that far off. The Republicans end game is the same either way: to cripple the government’s ability to do its job.


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