Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jobs v. regulations

The Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (at least that is what I think CPAC stands for) is wrapping up. I've got just a few things to note about what was said.

Grover Norquist is Anti-Tax and also a member of gay GOProud, the group that prompted other conservatives to boycott this year's conference. According to Norquist the left is made up of "takers," those that believe the role of government is to take things from some people and give it to others. They're a bunch of competing parasites and if the government won't feed them they'll gnaw on each other. This guy has flunked the class on community, that we're all in this together, especially the command from Jesus about we're all our brother's keeper.

The Right has been trumpeting the need to get rid of "job-killing regulations." Robert Reich notes there wasn't a flurry of new regulations just before the financial crash of 2007. He's annoyed at Obama for legitimizing the phrase by saying there are perhaps nonsensical regulations that should be rooted out.

There has always been a cat-and-mouse game between regulators and business. Lawyers and lobbyists for business seek out any ambiguity and vagueness in the laws that Congress writes. Regulators work to plug the holes.

A tradeoff between regulations and jobs? Better to rephrase the question. What are the tradeoffs between jobs and the consequences of no regulations. We all benefit from regulations that keep our rivers clear and air breathable even if we could gain jobs by letting companies pollute.

Several GOP senators are proposing their own budgets as Obama presents his. Some, like the one from Rand Paul of Kentucky, call for the evisceration of entire government departments (while only making miniscule dents in the deficit). These proposals are all silent on one important aspect: the consequences of such deep cuts. Say goodbye to affordable college, affordable housing, consumer protections, drug safety, and more. But the America that resulted from those cuts would not be one we would want our children to live in.

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