Why Would Republicans Cut Agencies?


During the Republican debates, lightweights like Gov. Perry of Texas argued government regulations are killing America. He advocated a complete elimination of the departments of Commerce, Energy, and Education. As others singled out the Environmental Protection Agency for extinction, Gov. Romney characteristically used vague terms, while he promised to cut a whole series of federal programs.

The media of course failed to ask follow-ups like: Why were Commerce, Energy, and Education slated for elimination? Why not Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Interior, Transportation, or Veterans Affairs? Don’t they all promulgated regulations? Why advocate just partial anarchy? Why not jump forward into total anarchy?

Can you imagine a country without federal regulation of any kind, where corporations did whatever they wanted, without any check on their behavior? Even though such a society would be an insane place to live, this is really what the Republicans want. Their goal is to abolish as many agencies as possible, because they simply don’t believe government has ever done or can do anything right.

But unlike the hardcore Republicans, rational people fortunately still believe the federal departments and agencies serve a purpose.

As to agriculture, we need agencies to inspect animal and plant health and safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must continue protecting us from harm.

As to commerce, the Consumer Product Safety Commission determines if products are unsafe. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should do more to regulate deceptive advertising and unfair trade, not less.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should keep the airwaves from being owned by just a few.

As to energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has no choice but to deal with nuclear security and waste disposal.

As to government, the fairness of elections needs monitoring by a Federal Election Commission (FEC) empowered to remove the corrosive influence of money.

As to health, we want an active Center for Disease Control.

As to housing, we still need equal opportunity and fairness.

As to air and water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is essential. They must monitor our endangered species, fish and wildlife, forests, migratory birds, and protect the national parks.

As to justice, we need stronger, not weaker, antitrust enforcement, to break up banks and other corporations “too big to fail.”

As to labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reduced a countless number of injuries in the workplace. They have eliminated chemical hazards. Mine safety and health is not an outdated chore. The National Labor Relations Board monitors union elections, and hears grievances regarding unfair practices.

As to transportation, what rational person would abolish the Federal Aviation Administration? The National Transportation Safety Board looks into plane crashes, to improve air travel. We need a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to insure truck safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has saved a great many lives by improving road conditions.

If retirement funds are going to be invested in the markets, the public must have an active Securities and Exchange Commission and a Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is a welcome sight, but it needs even more power to check bank and credit card company abuse.

Fortunately, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was created by Democrats in the 1930s, and when the banks failed this time, deposits were insured. We obviously must keep the FDIC, and maintain a strong Federal Reserve System.

Those who recklessly advocate abolishing agencies have not thought through their positions. In the modern age, people need government to regulate. Since the Republicans have been on the wrong side of this issue, and have no explanation as to why they would eliminate agencies, except that they apparently prefer an anarchistic world, they should be defeated in November.

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