USA: Cutting regulations shortens lives
US conservatives have stoked their war against 'big government', bidding to freeze federal actions to protect the public by introducing an anti-regulation regulation. According to award-winning journalist Michelle Chen: 'The proposed 'Regulatory Time-Out Act,' which would impose a one-year moratorium on 'significant' new regulations, takes aim at regulations that keep industry from dumping poison in rivers or accidentally blowing up factory workers?in other words, policies that capitalists call 'job killers'.' Reporting in 'In These Times', she adds: 'The guiding principle of this proposed regulatory kill-switch is a cold cost-benefit analysis that weighs profitability against people's health and safety.' Chen adds that while the bill may not make it into law, 'it reflects the anti-regulatory mentality' afflicting Washington. But far from killing jobs, Chen cites evidence of regulations protecting health and saving money. 'But these aren't the numbers anti-government ideologues like to cite in cost projections. Nor do they consider the potential jobs generated by regulations, and especially not the priceless benefit of a child spending more days learning in class. Nor the value of her parent living long enough to see her graduate from college.' Chen concludes: 'In anti-government politics, there's no room on the bottom line for real people - just as long as they vote the right way.' The UK government has claimed repeatedly that regulations, including safety rules, are 'job killers'. But evidence collated by unions and the 'We didn't vote to die at work' campaign show this is not just untrue, but the cost and job benefits can in fact dramatically out-weigh any costs.
Issued: 23 September, 2011