In an ad that has blanketed radio airwaves in the Washington region, a woman’s voice gently intones, “Imagine . . . one million new jobs.”
“One million new American jobs,” echoes a man. “One million new opportunities to build a career,” says the woman.
“Support a family.”
“Follow your dreams.”
And where will these “one million new jobs” come from? By expanding oil and gas drilling and building new pipelines, says the American Petroleum Institute, an industry lobbying group that paid for the ad campaign, which also has featured in newspapers, on television and on Metro platforms.
Oil companies aren’t the only ones promising jobs if Washington gives them their way. A wide array of businesses are saying they can help solve the country’s unemployment crisis if only the government would roll back some regulations, approve their big mergers or lower their taxes.
“We just learned today that if the federal government would pull back on all of the regulatory restrictions on American energy production, we could see 1.2 million jobs created in the United States,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) said at a Sep. 7 Republican presidential debate.
In a letter last month to the Justice Department, 100 lawmakers defended the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, repeating the companies’ argument that the government’s lawsuit to stop the deal on antitrust grounds would “thwart job creation and economic growth.”
And a central element in the economic plans of other Republican presidential candidates, such as Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, is to roll back “job-killing” regulations to spur hiring.
“It’s really hard if you’re against regulation to let a good crisis go to waste, and right now we have high unemployment,” said Roger Noll, an economics professor at Stanford University and co-director of the school’s program on regulatory policy. “You can use the current economic condition as a Trojan horse.”
AT&T has been running a television ad showing its employees hard at work and consumers enjoying their wireless phones and tablets. The ad says that if the merger with T-Mobile is approved, AT&T will bring back 5,000 jobs that were outsourced overseas. It also says the merger will create investment in broadband that would create “as many as 96,000 jobs.”
“Sure, you know oil and natural gas fuel transportation and comfort,” a blond-haired woman in a black pantsuit says in one API television ad. Behind her, silver trucks and cars glide by, an African American family shares a meal, people pour out of a rush-hour train. Then a crowd appears before giant letters that read: “9.2 million JOBS.”