Thanks to partisan fighting and perpetual gridlock, Congress has been unable to accomplish very much legislatively speaking. And yet, whatever is hindering its ability to pass laws has been more than offset by the government's achievement at growing regulation.
In fact, new research shows that whether it's Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, or the Clear Air Act, it costs private industry nearly $15 billion a year to comply with all those rules, making the job of "Compliance Officer" one of the country's 30 fastest growing careers for the decade from 2008-2018.
As my co-host Jeff Macke and I discuss in the attached video, even though these white-collar compliance workers can earn $60,000 to $100,000 a year and are largely recession proof, they're the kind of jobs growth we can do without.
As the RegWatch blog from The Hill.com points out, the prospects for this niche career are not only bright going forward, they've already risen 18% in the past three years and 122% in the past ten.
What these figures don't factor-in is what the hidden cost - and toll - is of complying with a global matrix of rules and regulations that is constantly changing and growing.
According to the American Action Forum, the Washington think tank that did the research, the net result of it all is inefficiency. "If firms were not concerned with their ability to comply with regulation, they could spend more on profitable investments to increase their actual output rather than pay compliance officers, which are primarily concerned with avoiding government penalties," the AFA report says.
Of course, all of this comes on the heels of last week's payroll report, which showed a disproportionate amount of the 204,000 new jobs created in October were in the low-paying retail, hospitality and service sectors.
It is also worth noting that these government mandated jobs are being added at a time when the actual number of government workers is still trickling down. That's because "a large number of compliance officers are employed by local, state, and federal agencies in order to enforce regulations, but a growing number are found in the private sector," the AFA report says.
Given the rise of mega-dollar settlements lately, such as those reached by JPMorgan (JPM) and SAC Capital, it is unlikely that this trend will reverse itself or even decelerate, since the rise in regulation has brought badly needed billions into state and federal coffers.
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