In the absence of rules and sheriffs, bandits will multiply.
The end game of the heavily mediated engine driving American political strife boils down to these questions:
- What is the appropriate size of the federal government?
- Who should decide that?
- Who should run the “right-sized” government based on what values determined by whom?
Big, big money was wagered in the 2016 election cycle on the outcome of this game as gazillionaires of the right and left poured donations (wonder how many are legal?) into competing PACs, SuperPACS, and 501C’s.
The Democrats shouted: We need social equality. In wealth. In health care. In opportunity. We need government to enable and enforce equality — as well as quality of goods and services. We need to protect those who cannot protect themselves. We need a better (perhaps larger) government. Control unfettered capitalism!
The Republicans shouted back: Damn Nanny-Staters. People should seek, strive, and work for opportunity. To those with the desire to work hard come rewards — so their reward, i.e. their wealth, should be greater than that of those who do not strive, who do not risk, who do not work hard. We must slash regulations to release the free-market engine of innovation. We need a smaller (as small as possible) government. Unshackle capitalism!
Does the federal (and state and local) government have too many rules and regulations? Perhaps. It’s clear President Donald thinks so:
We’re gonna be cutting regulation massively. The problem with the regulation that we have right now is that you can’t do anything. You can’t, I have people that tell me they have more people working on regulations than they have doing product.
President Donald wants federal agencies to trim their rule books by as much as 75 percent — “maybe more.”
He’s also frozen hiring at federal agencies save for national security, public safety, and the military. That may mean no new hires (or even replacement hires) for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration whose regulators try to keep workers safe. Or inspectors for the Food and Drug Administration to check for issues with the food Americans eat. Or scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency who search for ways to protect the environment. Perhaps even for Federal Aviation Administration employees, who try to keep people safe in aircraft.
That’s President Donald’s formula: Cut rules and regs, and freeze agencies’ abilities to enforce whatever’s left.
Americans need more oversight of the manufacture of the goods and products corporations sell them. That’s because in the absence of oversight and in the presence of enough financial motivation a sufficient number of corporations will cheat consumers in ways large and small. Think Volkswagen’s diesel scandal. Think subprime mortgage lending. Think Enron. And more.
But President Donald promises cheating won’t happen.
We’re going to have regulation, and it’ll be just as strong and just as good and just as protective of the people as the regulation we have right now. The problem with the regulation we have right now is that you can’t do anything.
Welcome to the Old West recreated by President Donald: In the absence of rules and sheriffs, bandits will multiply.