Posts tagged ‘Regulations’

12/22/2012

NRA: Gun Caused Newton Shooting

It’s only been a little more than a week since the horrible grade school massacre in Newton, Connecticut, where twenty 6-year-olds and six teachers were murdered, but the National Rifle Association (NRA) is already confusing people as to its cause.

Yesterday, in a speech by Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, the true cause of the shooting was not mentioned. Instead, he suggested increasing our tax burden by spending countless sums to place armed guards in every school in the U.S. He failed to mention mass killings have occurred in theatres, shopping centers, and even army bases, already protected by armed guards.

The NRA cannot see the forest for the trees. The simple cause of the shooting in Connecticut was a gun, period. Yes, the shooter had a mental issue. People have had mental problems in the past, and no matter what we do as a culture, there will be sick people in the future. All we can do is treat illnesses once diagnosed.

The critical mistake in Connecticut occurred when the mother of the mentally ill kid purchased not one, but three firearms, and then kept them in her home, where her son could access them. Although people have been warned over the years the presence of firearms increases risks of injury or death to the owner, more than anyone else, the mother ignored this, and tragically she died first.

The mentally ill kid then took his mother’s semi-automatic weapon on a shooting spree at a grade school. If the mother had not given him access to the gun, or if we would have barred her from purchasing it, the shooting probably wouldn’t have occurred.

We first have to acknowledge that twenty innocent 6-year-olds were murdered by a gun. Sadly, the NRA just can’t accept this.

Other countries, including Canada where hunting is popular, have far less violence from guns, because their regulations are more effective. The 2nd Amendment is not absolute. It specifically refers to a “well-regulated militia.” As the Founders wrote it, they envisioned regulations. It’s time we implemented gun regulations by banning powerful semi-automatic guns now and forever.

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.

05/30/2012

Jobs: Republicans Deserve No Credit

It always amusing when Republicans like Wisconsin Gov. Walker take credit for job increases, as if they personally interviewed the unemployed, one by one, and told them they were hired. While Democrats have historically helped those out of work by creating public sector jobs, Republicans don’t even budget enough money to meet the current government payroll, and they certainly are not entitled to take credit for any new government employment.

As to the private sector, governments can only indirectly stimulate economic activity through Fiscal Policies, which increase government spending. Since Republicans again routinely vote against job stimulus bills, they cannot legitimately take credit for any employment the government may trigger in the private sector.

When politicians like Republican Gov. Perry claim they added 1 million new jobs in Texas, they try to take credit for something they did not do, since they added no public sector jobs, and stimulated no private employment, through state budgeting.

While Gov. Romney argued jobs are established in the private sector, and not in Washington, he repeatedly failed to explain his theory that only those who understand “how the economy works” can create employment. The truth is merely understanding “how the economy works” is not a formula for job creation. Slogans like: “to create jobs, you have to have had one,” sound great, but insult our intelligence, since they explain nothing.

What is funny is when politicians like Romney, Perry, Huntsman, Bachmann, Ron Paul, Gingrich, and all the others, repeat the standard Republican talking points that jobs can be created by eliminating regulation, lowering taxes, and repealing Health Care.

Just how would the elimination of regulations create jobs? Have you ever thought about it? The right wing repeatedly makes this argument, but nobody pauses to think about what they are saying? If we repealed food safety rules made by the Food and Drug Administration, our health would be endangered for sure, but how would that create jobs, except perhaps in emergency rooms? If we eliminated air safety rules promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration, we may have more plane crashes, but explain the job creation theory, because the connection is not at all obvious.

Lowering taxes to create jobs is another interesting theory. President George W. Bush tried it in a big way, as he dramatically cut taxes for the wealthy, and what happened? 4 million lost their jobs in 2008, in the six months before President Obama took office. Bush’s cuts sounded good to the wealthy, but if the policy had worked for all of us, the rich would have used their new wealth to invest in job creation, but they obviously did not do that.

How would the repeal of the new Health Care law increase jobs? If the nation will be adding health coverage for 40 million people, one need not be a rocket scientist to understand that a countless number of jobs will necessarily be created to take care of them. The right wing theory that repealing the law would somehow add jobs is totally baseless and illogical.

While Republicans pay lip service to unemployment, saying it is a tragedy that affects millions, they avoid direct solutions like public works hiring projects, and oppose government stimulus plans. Reducing taxes for the rich, eliminating unspecific regulations, and making other reforms not even remotely related to jobs, is no answer. The very least the right wingers and Republicans could do is avoid taking credit for jobs, since they certainly have no right to claim credit for them.