If you’re in the business of disposing of sewage, the difference between onerous, job killing regulation and good sense depends upon whether or not you are upriver or down river of the disposal site.
If you are in the business of dumping poop in the river you want the easiest, cheapest and most profitable method of dumping. That means raw, untreated, producing maximum profit and minimal expense. If, however you live downstream and you want to drink clean water, you don’t think it’s too much to ask that you take precautions to do as little damage as possible, even if it does cost a little more.
That is the perpetual battle between Republicans who want to help business and Democrats who see regulation as the price we pay for a clean environment, safe food and water. The argument goes that left to themselves, business people will do the right thing, make safe products; you don’t need regulations. History tells us that isn’t the case, that food was adulterated on a routine basis before pure food laws were instituted. Tanaka would tell you there’s a huge profit in defective airbags, so long as you don’t get caught. We need regulations.
I had a career in one of the most heavily-regulated industries in this country: broadcasting. Every radio and TV station had to submit a thick document defending past performance and setting out what would be done in the next license period, if the license was renewed. It was weeks of work; we needed specialty law firms, we were subject to technical inspection without notice, we were often targets of public complaint. Mistakes in operating procedures brought fines and could even cause your license to be suspended or revoked. Yet somehow we managed to turn a handsome profit, do a very creditable job and serve the communities to which we were licensed.
The argument that businesses don’t hire etc. is specious. Businesses hire when they see an opportunity for profit by selling more. Regulation doesn’t make that much difference. If you cannot function because of the cost of regulation, while others can, I’m sorry, you don’t have a business, you merely think you do. I say that from the standpoint of having been a manager in the private sector, on and off, since I was 27.
Deregulation seems largely a case of ginning up profits at the expense of other people’s safety. We all need clean water, we all need clean air, we all hope that the food we eat is not adulterated. We expect our doctor to have met certain standards, as well as our teacher, our lawyer, our plumber. I do not wish to die, be misinformed, sued or soaked because the person I hire is incompetent to do the job.
I prefer a little too much regulation, to too little. The result can be life or death.
The Congress is off and running, busily working to deregulate; there’s talk of requiring suspension of two regulations for each new one imposed. We’re talking quantity, not validity.
We have seen the results of this deregulation here in Florida with DEP and other departments gutted, with terms like “Climate Change” outlawed by fiat. The result is destructive of our beautiful state and the same zeal will do immense damage to our country. We need policemen and we need intelligent rules.
Stepping backward is always a risky business, even if it holds the promise of profit. This priority for Congress and the President is ill considered.