Posts tagged ‘Government Agencies’

06/06/2012

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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01/17/2012

Republican Debate: New Hamp (1-8-12)

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul said we need someone to challenge our huge empire overseas and the amount we spend on it. Elections are held overseas, he said, but we refuse to accept results. We can no longer have 900 bases in 130 countries, he said. Santorum argued the problem with Paul is all the things Republicans like about him, he cannot accomplish, and all the things they worry about, he can do on day one. As commander-in-chief, on day one, Paul could pull all our troops back from overseas. We would no longer have the 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf. Perry also disagreed with Paul, saying overseas spending is not our biggest problem.

DEFENSE SPENDING: Huntsman said Defense should not be a sacred cow. If we cannot find cuts in the Defense, we are nuts.

IRAN: Santorum argued Iran has a theocracy which believes the afterlife is better than this one. They are different than the Soviets, China, or North Korea, as they would actually use nuclear weapons, since they value martyrdom and would die for Allah.

PAKISTAN: Even though Pakistan already has nuclear weapons, Santorum said they are a secular state, and not theocratic.

SOCIALISM: Perry believes Obama is a socialist. Paul said there is a socialism for the rich. The banks, and military industrial complex run the entitlement system, and benefit from it.

CAPITALISM: Gingrich referred to a NY Times report that said Romney’s Bain Capital engaged in behavior which looted a company and left 1,700 unemployed.

RECESSION: Romney does not blame Obama for the recession, but claims he is responsible for getting us deeper into it and causing it to go on longer.

BANKS: Romney argues the Dodd-Frank Bill made it harder for community banks to make loans.

LABOR: Perry thinks there is a federal law that forces states to enact right-to-work laws. He claims he is not anti-union, but instead pro-jobs. Santorum would sign a national right-to-work law. Romney said the anti-union right-to-work laws make sense for the entire nation. He also claims Obama stacked the National Labor Relations Board with “labor stooges.”

ENERGY: In response to a question regarding home heating oil prices rising in NH to $4 gallon, because Obama cut the program that helps low income people, Huntsman said we need to disrupt the oil monopoly. Paul wants energy deregulated. He said subsidizing it is not the way to do it. Gingrich wants federal lands and offshore areas opened for oil and gas development. Romney said air pollution is a reason to switch to natural gas, located in the Dakotas, Penn and Texas, which costs only a fraction of oil.

ENVIRONMENT: Romney said we are responsible for clean air and cannot allow pollution from one state to flow to another state.

HEALTH CARE: Huntsman agrees with the Ryan plan which would remove 6.2 trillion from the budget over 10 years. Medicare should not be a sacred cow, he said. He would impose means testing. Gingrich called the new Ryan-Wyden bill more sensible. Paul explained medical care is not a right, like liberty, but rather an entitlement. He explained federal employees have a choice of plans. If they opt for a more expensive one, their co-insurance costs are higher. Romney would cut Obamacare and save 95 billion a year. Santorum opposes subsidizing high income seniors and supports anti-socialist approaches like Medical Savings Accounts, Medicare Advantage, based on premiums, and Medicare Part D.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney does not want to change Medicare or Social Security for current retirees.

POVERTY: Romney said federal poverty programs need to be sent back to the states. Given the bureaucracy, he thinks very little actually reaches those who need it. Santorum would block grant food stamps and housing and send them back to the states.

AGENCIES: Perry would eliminate the Energy, Commerce, and Education Depts. Romney would cut a whole series of programs.

TERM LIMITS: Huntsman said, as a candidate for governor, he talked about term limits and campaign finance reform.

BUDGET: The only people who would be in pain through budget cuts are crooks, Gingrich said. Romney said we need to stop the extraordinary spending going on for the past 20, 30 to 40 years.  Paul said his 1 trillion dollar proposal to cut spending would not begin with Social Security, but rather overseas spending. He would return to the 2006 budget. Perry said spending is the biggest problem and wants a balanced budget amendment.

TAXES: The right course, Romney said, is not to raise taxes. Huntsman said loopholes and deductions weigh down our tax code by 1 trillion dollars, and give rise to lobbying on Capitol Hill. We must say good-bye to corporate welfare and subsidies.

FAMILY: Santorum believes the breakdown of the American family is undermining America, as he pointed out the rate of poverty in single-parent families is five times higher.

GAYS: Romney would not discriminate against gays. He appointed people to the bench regardless of sexual orientation, but does not favor same-sex marriage. Santorum said every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should have equal opportunity, but he opposes adoption by gay couples.

ELECTABILITY: Romney will have a very hard time getting elected, Gingrich argued. Romney called himself a conservative, who balanced the Mass budget 4 years straight, and cut taxes 19 times. Santorum pointed out that if Romney was such a great Mass. Gov, why didn’t he run for re-election? He said Romney lost a race to Sen. Kennedy in 1994 by 20 points. When Romney claimed politics is not a career for him, Gingrich told him to drop the “pious baloney.” He said Romney has been running for office since the 1990s.  Paul doesn’t think the Republicans will do well with a candidate who endorsed the single-payer system and TARP bailouts. Paul sponsored 620 measures, but just 4 made it to the floor, and only 1 became law.