Skip to main content

Deregulate What?

I've been watching the Republican debates, and two universal beliefs among the candidates are that high taxes and excessive regulation are strangling the economy. I'm sure that there are many taxes and regulations that I would personally agree are damaging or unnecessary, but the message from the candidates seems to be a rejection of any tax or regulation. I don't agree, and I'm sure that if pressed, neither would the candidates.

It seems to me that our economy couldn't function without the framework of contract law and enforcement imposed by government. And when I hear that government should get out of the way of business so they can create jobs, I'm skeptical. A quick review of recent headlines or our own history provides too many examples of unrestrained businesses behaving badly, including out of control air and water pollution, adulterated foods, sweat shops, and unsafe buildings.

It seems to me that the mantra of no more government regulation should be replaced with a discussion of specific regulations, starting with those that appear to be causing the most problems. I can't say that I have a well thought out opinion, but my first thought is agricultural subsidies. 

What would be at the top of your list?


  1. Your position is well-stated if not thoroughly thought-out. What would flying be like without rules about airline safety? Should government not require that the safety of roads and highways be enforced? What would the environment be like if manufacturers were allowed to use air and water as free dumps for their wastes? Too much opinion is generated by self-interest and short sightedness.

    1. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment, but I think that we agree on this. Rules and regulations are required for society to function and to protect the public from bad actors such as your example of pollution.

      The post was intended to be a question to those who claim deregulation as a universal solution for specific examples.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Lets Cut Taxes!

The Texas legislature is in session and a tax cut is on the agenda with two competing proposals. One is to reduce property taxes and the other is to reduce sales taxes. Which one is the best?

I've been complaining about property taxes for years, and since I'm close to retirement I see property taxes as an unending, uncontrollable, and increasing drain on my future fixed income. Sales taxes on the other hand are proportional to my spending, and so somewhat controllable. That's why I'd prefer the property tax cut.

But on further reflection I changed my mind. Here's why...

If government is going to work it needs to be fair, but historians and economists know that this isn't the natural order of things. Throughout history wealth has tended to become concentrated. People in power naturally act in their own self interest, and the result is to further increase their power and wealth. I don't see this as intentionally evil. It's simply the result of rational (a…

Free market fixes for climate change?

In her recent article for the Chicago Tribune titled "End climate change scare tactics; try free market fixes" Rachel Marsden dismisses President Obama's recent concerns about climate change as a threat to global security and goes on to suggest that although there is no way to control the earth's climate we can adjust by allowing multinational corporations to conquer the environment. Both of these claims seem misguided to me for a number of reasons.

As to the concern about security and the environment there are many documented cases of destruction of the environment by human action and subsequent societal collapse. The story of Easter Island is a good example, and may serve as a miniature version of what could happen globally.

As the earth's climate changes, areas that were marginally able to support the local population will suffer. And unfortunately the results are not self contained. Collapse results in lawlessness, chaos, and refugees who naturally head for t…

War on Religion?

Over the last few weeks the news has been full of controversy about the intersection between religion and government. The catalyst was a ruling regarding medial insurance coverage, but since then the 'debate' has grown to a broader concern of government interfering in individuals religious practices.

I would never claim that this is a simple issue, but I also don't believe that there is a systematic attack or war on religion by government, as claimed by Newt Gingrich among others..

Of course there is reason to fear such an attack. History is filled with examples of governments outlawing and attacking religion. Mexico, the Soviet Union and China are good examples.

But our government has religious freedom guaranteed in the constitution, along with a requirement in the first amendment that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." And this isn't a hollow promise as demonstrated by numerous lawsuits and court rulings.

The problem is …