The Republican Myth Of “Government Regulations Are Bad”.

Republicans are an odd bunch these days, a generation or so removed from true conservatives so-called “social” conservatives want to regulate everything in your personal life from gay marriage to a 15 year old girl’s uterus to what songs they can play on the radio, but howl at “big government” when anyone tries to restrict what businesses do.  The difference is that unlike something like gay marriage or saying tits in a song, what businesses do is restricted not when it merely offends someone, but when it actually hurts people.  We are living in a deep recession caused mainly from taking away regulations limiting what financial institutions can and can’t do which were put in place after the great depression to prevent the economy from de-stabalizing, and a major republican talking point is actually that we need to get rid of more regulations.  They convince people that the EPA and education standards and the minimum wage and unions and teachers getting health benefits are the real source of the problem.  If we just had fewer (or ideally no) regulations restricting what businesses can do, the economy would be fine. 

And it probably would be – for CEOs.  Because not having to pay a living wage to your employees, while possibly fatal for them does increase your profit margins.  And not having to give them benefits helps too.  And not having to provide a safe work environment, or pay overtime, or give people the weekend off etc, etc would also help… the CEO.  The truth is that government regulations and unions are the difference between a company and an organized crime syndicate.  They’re the difference between a bank and a loan shark.  They’re the difference between a job provider and a slave owner, and anti-trust restrictions which prevent monopolies (and aren’t strong enough) are the difference between the neighborhood store and the company store.

Government restrictions are not totalitarianism as conservative politicians make them out to be, they are (though it seems counter-intuitive) what prevents the corporate equivalent of totalitarianism.  And it’s not like we’re not halfway there, a poor man robs a store to keep from starving and goes to a maximum security prison for 15 years while a rich man steals billions, cuts a deal and gets six months in a minimum security day care center.  Government restrictions prevent totalitarianism from taking root and make us more free the same way police and judges restricting harmful behavior prevents anarchy.  Imagine if I ran on the sort of platform that republicans often run on, but instead of advocating corporate lawlessness, I advocated the personal equivalent?  What if instead of advocating that an employer shouldn’t have to pay minimum wage I advocated laws saying you shouldn’t have to always show up for work to get a paycheck, and they’re not allowed to fire you unless you do less than 60% of the work the job entails.  Or if instead of saying corporate pollution shouldn’t be restricted because of it’s harmful health effects, I advocated legalizing well-poisoning or putting asbestos in your new baby room.  Or instead of advocating banks not be restricted in what they can and can’t do with your money, I advocated you being able to gamble with your employer’s wallet and return the money only if you win.

I would be considered an amoral scoundrel or a lunatic or both.


About agnophilo

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25 Responses to The Republican Myth Of “Government Regulations Are Bad”.

  1. YouToMe says:

    I am going to say one thing.

  2. YouToMe says:

    KiddingKudos. Great writing, Mark.It amazes me you aren’t teaching somewhere

  3. whyzat says:

    You’re thinking and saying what you think without making a stink and clubbing people over the head with it. I appreciate that. Instead of hanging around on the streets, making a mess and taunting authorities, we should write letters and emails to our congresspeople and tell them, without threatening, in so many words what we want. Use the internet to inform D.C. how outraged we are, like the people used it to surprise Bank of America. Vote. Maybe you won’t get your picture on TV, but you might do some real good. Thanks

  4. agnophilo says:

    @whyzat – I don’t know that they would ever even get the message.  It’s more useful to try to change public opinion so politicians will bend to it than to try to persuade politicians who are often disingenuous in the first place.  And thanks for the compliment btw – also I do dislike the leadership of the party but I don’t think most republicans in general are malicious or evil.  Many are (deliberately) misguided into voting against their own interests though.

  5. whyzat says:

    @agnophilo – I agree. Unfortunately, power is an addictive drug, and the lobbyists’ money is a great temptation. I think honest, well-meaning representatives exist, but they get caught in a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” situation. And we’re just damned.

  6. This is the most anti-American thing I’ve ever seen.Oh, wait… you’re fighting for the rights of Americans, not some crazy libertarian ideal of how America would run if we’re all perfect people.

  7. What is considered “mainstream” by conservative politicians frightens me more every day. 

  8. I think when the average person is talking about less regulation by government, they are talking about something different than you are.  You act like the average conservative is against safety standards.  That is like saying the average OWS supporter is a pot smoking homeless person.  It may be a good line but it isn’t exactly the truth.I work at a place that is owned by a few people that are not American.  My wife does too.  The reason they started a business in the U.S. and even Texas is because they wanted to make money and it is easy to start a business in Texas.  They clearly want to make money and they also like the fact that it is so easy for someone to come to the U.S. and start a business.  It is an international organization that I work for.  If we make it hard for them to make a profit, they will move their business to a place that is easier.   So we benefit by making it easy for them to make a profit.

  9. agnophilo says:

    @whyzat – True.@GodlessLiberal – Well said : )@TheThinkingPerson – Very true.@TheTheologiansCafe – The mentality that government regulations are inherently bad is popular in the republican party and is often an applause line at republican events.  During a recent debate perry infamously flubbed while pandering to his party by saying he would remove 3 regulatory agencies if elected president.  Not three regulations, three agencies. 

  10. DivaJyoti says:

    I logged in just to rec this, I’m really not in much of a xanga mood today.

  11. DivaJyoti says:

    @TheTheologiansCafe – The people should go ahead and move, we don’t benefit from people making more profits, e.g. we bailed out the banks and instead of helping out home owners, the banks are simply hoarding the money.The Republicans ARE against safety standards and if you don’t agree with that you ought to either switch parties or protest against your own party.I’d love to see you get fired or laid off and THEN see how you speak, who you take up for, and what you stand for.  It would be an excellent lesson for someone like you, I hope it happens.Or say, someone beloved to you, or you yourself, gets diagnosed with an environmental related carcinoma linked directly to the absence of one of the regulations “your party” decided to do away with.You are completely incapable of putting yourself in anyone else’s shoes, people like you, the only way you’ll ever learn is to experience it personally.  I think it would benefit you to have a negative personal experience linked to your own wrong political positions.I totally mean that, you should blog about it.

  12. @DivaJyoti – Wow.  Why would you wish bad things on someone else?I did start over 5 years ago and started in a new field.  I admit it was challenging.  In fact, it sucked.  But I just had to work hard and make my way back up.  The same thing that worked the first time, worked the second time.Hard work will put you ahead.

  13. NewDog2 says:

    @TheTheologiansCafe – looks like she went ahead and blogged it before you did.

  14. NewDog2 says:

    @agnophilo – I notice DJ linked this blog.

  15. DivaJyoti says:

    @TheTheologiansCafe – What I wish for you is a stunning wake-up call.  Happy OWS 2 month anv!

  16. agnophilo says:

    @DivaJyoti – Thanks : )  Do eprops do anything btw?@DivaJyoti – I’m not taking theodan’s side, but saying you’d love to see someone fired or get cancer is pretty shitty.  And it won’t inspire sympathy, it will just make someone understandably defensive.

  17. agnophilo says:

    @TheTheologiansCafe – Oh, and I forgot to reply to your other point – it does no good to turn america into a third world country to compete with the third world in terms of labor protections.  I’d rather make america a country a CEO would want to live in while running his company than make it a country he’d want to leech money out of or make disposable crap stamped out of plastic for.

  18. @agnophilo – I have never advocated turning the U.S. into a third world country.  I have advocated using the same formula that turned it into the largest economy in the World. . . hard work and little room for an entitlement culture.

  19. agnophilo says:

    @TheTheologiansCafe – That is actually what you said (sort of) to divajyoti, not what you said in the comment I was responding to.  In that comment you said that we need to deregulate corporations and strip down labor protections to make it easier to make a profit in order to compete with the poor countries companies are exporting jobs to to prevent them from doing so.  What I’m saying is that the employees have to make a living too.

  20. @agnophilo – Since I am also an employee, I am in favor of employees too.

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