Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

The Deregulation Lie

One of the things we continually hear from conservative candidates is that they will “work to reduce government regulation” to “get the government off business’s back” , as though this was an unalloyed good idea. However, they never say WHAT regulations they intend to delete.

Since the great financial deregulation of the Reagan era, we’ve had the savings and loan meltdown, market manipulation scandals, massive Ponzi schemes, and the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. Can you say, “Silverado”? “Enron”? “Madoff”? “Lehman Brothers”? We’ve seen how well THAT works. Do we want more of it? Bankers and brokers are lobbying hard for the right to continue to play blind poker with our money.

It’s more than a hundred years since the publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, yet we are still finding tainted meat, bad eggs, and contaminated vegetables in our food supply, not to mention poisonous toys and deadly drugs. Which regulations here should be repealed?

Coal miners and oil rig workers are still being killed on the job, while their employers are cited for violation after violation and get only taps on the wrist if that. When I heard the head of Massey Energy state that “we never put profits before safety,” I laughed out loud. He thinks we are stupid. Of course his company puts profits before safety. EVERY business puts profits before safety. Without profits, there is no business. With no or minimal attention to safety, you can do business perfectly well. Balancing this is the cold, capitalist, equation. The trouble with our present system is that industry lobbyists have been writing the regulations that they nevertheless complain about and evade, using the criteria of “as cheap as possible and minimally safe,” instead of “as safe as feasible and reasonably cheap.”

Given this track record, which regulations would you repeal? I could understand trying to prune out needless or pointless regs, but in fact, we need some that are more effective and have more teeth. The cry of “less regulation overall” is only motivated by the desire to further increase profits (already tax free for many companies) at the expense of workers and consumers.
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Tags: conservatives, deregulation, lies, rants
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