Earlier this month (on 6/2) the New York Times printed several Letters to the Editor on a topic I am very passionate about: Government regulation. Is it a good thing?
Well, let’s look at what happens when there is lax or NO government regulation. I’m going to use as an example the horrific and deadly factory explosion and fire in West, Texas, home of Governor Rick Perry. I quote from a great article from a newsletter called Kos:
Governor Rick Perry has been running around the U.S. boasting about Texas and its low taxes, small government, weak regulation, little oversight, anti-union right to work state in which workers and consumers have few protections. Rick Perry is proud to let business owners know that they can move their businesses to Texas where they can avoid paying taxes while they run rough shod over the safety and well-being of its residents and consumers………..
As we learned very recently, there can be devastating consequences to Rick Perry and the Texas GOP’s anti-government hysterics……….
Rick Perry claims that low regulation levels the playing field. But as we recently learned, low regulation also levels schools, homes, churches and businesses. Not to mention the loss of life where apparently life is cheap in Rick Perry’s unregulated Texas……….
The problem, as detailed in one prescient letter to the Times, is that regulation is costly, inefficient and frustrating, but much better than the alternative. History proves conclusively that unregulated free markets are incapable of reining in the excesses of capitalism, which must be tempered through government meddling…….
OK, so here’s my point. Capitalism is a fantastic system–the best in the history of the world. But for it to work properly, the people—yes, you and me—need to make sure that businesses PLAY BY THE RULES.
NO RULES: CHAOS
STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF THE RULES: A BETTER COUNTRY
Yes, there are too many rules and the government is inefficient. But no rules? Nope, not the answer.
So, just to get political for a moment, when someone suggests to you that government regulation is a bad thing, think about this: Do you want badly polluted water and air, corrupt banks, contaminated food, tainted drugs, unsafe workplaces, and dangerous travel?
Isn’t government regulation needed to make sure that the common good of ALL citizens remains the primary thing we should try to protect?
Do YOU trust all businesses to do what they want, or should WE make sure businesses play by the rules – such as not storing tons of dangerous explosives in a factory and not telling anyone?
As one Times letter put it, …the challenging issue is to find the right mix of governments and markets in the name of the common good.
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