Friday, December 2, 2011

The way of the Republican

Republicans have been fighting regulation for a long time, and their most recent push is no different. What is different is how the GOP is going about trying to get rid of regulations. Instead of going after the things that keep our food, goods, services, and workers safe and healthy and our environment clean, they are instead looking to make the process much harder on the government. The party that constantly talks about the ineffective and slow progress in Washington wants to slow down the process of regulations. They want to add red tape to the system that they say is too full of red tape to begin with.

What interests me about this is that the Republican argument against regulation makes very little sense, yet people agree with them all the time. First, Republicans say that regulations cause undue financial burden to companies who have to meet these standards. They're required to buy more expensive paint that is not lead-based, or use meat that meets minimum standards of freshness. The GOP says that if you cut regulations, businesses will be freed up to cut the costs of their production, thereby delivering cheaper goods. What that tells me is that businesses will choose to adopt goods and/or services that are more harmful to consumers to make more money.

The response I've gotten to this is that the free market, fully free from government oversight, would deal with that. A company would not use lead-based paint if their competitor didn't so that they could be competitive. But then my question is, what's the problem with regulations? If the companies would do it themselves anyway, what's the difference?

And no one knows what the ultimate costs to Americans will be if health and safety regulations are completely gutted. Companies who directly cause health problems for their customers would not be held liable because, like everything else, that is something that is covered under safety regulations and would likely be dismantled. Consumer protections would go out the window. The mantra would be "let the buyer beware." In short, we would have a catastrophic move back to the 1900's, complete with the cut in life expectancy and the increase in dangerous products.

1 comment:

samp said...

I don't believe that the republicans want to repeal all regulations but rather do away with duplication and streamline others. So much government oversight has two or three agencies doing the same thing. We better be careful regarding the health care issue. Already the government is funding or reimbursing doctors who work for hospitals substantially more than they do private practitioners so these doctors are going to hospitals. Government is controlling the healthcare which means that some bureaucrat will be making YOUR medical decisions based on cost rather than medical need. Scares me. It should scare everyone. I for one want my health care decisions in the hands of a doctor not some asshole in Washington or if Governor Shumlin has his way in Vermont in Montpelier. We certainly need health care reform but not Obamacare...