The Republicans have catch phrases which have been very handy for their purposes for the last forty years, “burdensome regulations,” are among them. Rarely do they want to identify upon whom the burden rests. Often they are fond of calling the regulations “job killing.” Nearly always the “regulations” are amorphous, and highly generalized.
Let’s get specific. Senator Rob Portman will be introducing a bill which, in its present form, would limit the ability of federal agencies to promulgate rules until every last lawsuit against them is completely litigated. In other words, NEVER. So, what nefarious regulations would people like to have eliminated?
How about eliminating the regulations associated with the Clean Water Act? One regulation has already fallen — the one limiting toxic sludge emptied into freshwater. Is this going to make drinking water any safer? Will this encourage the development of tourism based activities in coal country to diversify their economy by adding more hunting and fishing opportunities? Will elimination of these rules make the drinking water in Flint, MI and other American cities safer for children, and adults? Do we really want to go back to the not-so-good old days when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, OH?
Or perhaps people would like rules associated with the Clean Air Act eliminated? What’s wrong with breathing a little smog — other than creating public health issues like an increase in the incidence of asthma? Respiratory diseases? Lung cancer? What’s wrong with creating a country of people walking around with face masks as they do in Beijing?
How about eliminating consumer protection regulations? Gee, what could go wrong, other than a replication of Wells-Fargo’s egregious practice of opening accounts people didn’t know about and then charging fees on those accounts? Other than predatory lenders charging unimaginable rates for pay day loans to working people, and even members of the US Armed Forces? Other than mortgage servicers failing to notify customers who held their mortgages and failing to properly record documents with local governments? Other than obviously dangerous products being available for sale to unwitting customers, customers without the ability to check online to see if products for infants, children, and others are safe and free of deadly defects? Other than allowing financial advisers being able to tell retirees to purchase financial products which benefit the adviser far more than they would benefit the retirees? Other than making it easier for the Wolves on Wall Street to indulge in Casino play with investment funds? Were these the “burdensome” rules of which we wish to be relieved?
It’s interesting, that Republicans are only too pleased to speak of those regulatory burdens in highly generalized terms, but when brought down to cases, they tend to sputter that “No, it’s not Those” regulations of which they speak.
Who is in favor of providing federal funds to schools that allow bullying and discriminatory behaviors in their buildings? Who is in favor of making it more difficult to determine if lending institutions are cheating their customers? Who is in favor of dirty air and filthy streams? Who is in favor of making it more likely that food sold to the public won’t be properly inspected? Let’s guess it’s NOT the average American member of the public at large.
Someone is in favor of removing these, and other obstacles, to free wheeling unrestrained and unregulated corporate practices, and in this Congress they are finding significant support.