On just ending regulations on a willy-nilly basis…

Republicans, that is Republicans primarily, always want to end regulations — they are law and order but they want to end all regulations — excuse me, all unnecessary regulations on business.

(Regulations on human behavior and individual rights, well that’s another story.)

This is not novel but President-Elect Donald Trump has announced that among his priorities on “Day one” in the White House will be that for every one new regulation two old ones must be eliminated.

How simplistic and nonsensical can you get? I mean this assumes that there are regulations that are unnecessary, I mean unnecessary on their face. Then why were they put on the books in the first place? Many people must have thought they were necessary.

We know that under-regulation on banks led to the 2008 Great Recession. And we can thank a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who in his then new “centrist approach” went on the deregulate-the-banks bandwagon.

Trump says that over-regulation is impeding the production of energy.

Oklahoma has an unusual epidemic of earthquakes as the result of the relatively new development of the fracking method of extracting oil. But attempts to curb this process meet with resistance because oil is a vital source of energy and dollars. And when there is a conflict between public safety and dollars, dollars often win out.

(There has to be a middle ground.)

And I hope this is not in bad taste but a story just developing within the last 24 hours as I am writing this is a terrible school bus tragedy in Chattanooga, Tennessee in which at least five children died. It is speculated had they had seat belts they might have survived. But the powers that be there have resisted mandatory seat belts on school buses because of the cost — unnecessary regulation?

On the other hand, I will agree that there of course can be such thing as unnecessary regulations and regulations should be reviewed from time to time.

But politicians ought to give the pubic more credit and ought to do their homework and figure out some logic here. Just willy-nilly ending regulations is not the way to go.

To be fair, perhaps Mr. Trump really meant (we are always left with figuring out the real meaning) not just an arbitrary erasure of regulations.

But to my mind the threat to end two regulations for every new one is a form of political blackmail from the hands-off business side against the more careful environmentally and safety conscious side. Don’t try to regulate us or we’ll just eliminate regulations altogether. The Art of the Deal?

Most of the fight on regulations is over those on business. People who stand to earn money on something that is beset with regulation will always be blind to science and other safety considerations, whether they be safety belts for school buses or safety practices in coal mines or regulations on lenders.

Trump says that over-regulation is stymieing the development of energy. I imagine regulations always impede progress to some extent but again there must have been a reason behind the regulations in the first place.

 

 

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