one ever said that Donald Trump was up to date on the state of the
U.S. and its people, but his White House recently bragged that he is
conducting a “war on regulation” and his handlers never
said whether he understood the reason we have regulations in most
areas of life.
that he does not understand, nor does he care, all he wants to do is
bow to his rich friends and allies, most of them Republicans, and do
what they have been whining about for decades: too much regulation
that hurts their businesses and causes them to spend too much money
president wasted little time in offering up to his ruling class
friends an order that, for every new regulation, the congress and
governmental agencies would have to eliminate two existing
regulations. In that, he beat Canada, which a few years ago,
established a rule that for every new regulation, one regulation
would have to be scrapped. How’s that for a hard-charging
competitive new president?
barges in occasionally and, this time, reality will begin to intrude
on this “war on regulation,” as it has in other instances
in Trump’s short presidency, such as his immigration debacle.
That’s what happens when someone in power shoots and then looks
for the target.
CNBC came up with a headline that said: “CEO confidence at
near-record high. Why? Trump’s War on Regulation,” and
it was a piece on that cable TV channel by Frank Holmes, CEO and
chief investment officer at U.S. Global Investors. Holmes wrote,
“Such a rule (the two-for-one rule) has been long overdue in
U.S. regulations — or indirect taxation, as I call them —
which often stand in the way of growth and create economic friction.
The libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute
calculates that the annual cost of regulations amounts to a
jaw-dropping $1.9 trillion, a figure that in 2014 exceeded the $1.7
trillion collected in federal income taxes.”
start with one of the big regulations that is sure to cost employers
money: the minimum wage. Trump, on the campaign trail last year,
said clearly that Americans are paid too much, and that the minimum
wage is too high. He was merely parroting numberless CEOs from
Corporate America who have been complaining about having to pay a
minimum wage, which has not been a living wage for generations, if
ever. That is a regulation, in that it requires a minimum standard
for wages and CEOs don’t like that.
coal industry, one of the most destructive industries in the country,
complained that their mountaintop removal to expose coal deposits
destroyed hundreds of miles of streams and valleys, caught the eyes
of the regulatory agencies, which developed regulations to stop the
destruction, but only after the damage was done to home country for
hundreds or thousands of families. That’s regulation.
village of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., discovered (by one of the citizens)
that their community was contaminated by perfluoroctanoic acid, from
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. The chemical was found in the
drinking water of the village and many believe that it caused cancer.
The substance is widely dispersed in the environment, because it was
used in the production of stick-free cookware, such as Teflon. It
could be said that regulations and an efficient regulatory agency
could have prevented that contamination, which was also found across
the state line in Vermont.
Falls residents’ problems with toxic water brings up the case
of the poisoning of the people of Flint, Mich., where the people
drank lead-contaminated water for more than a year before a
whistleblower brought the case to public attention. The lead was
especially toxic to children, whose bodies and minds are just
developing. A good regulator would have stopped that in its tracks.
But so far, there has been little to no action against city or state
officials, who knew about the contamination all along.
of the confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), for pork, beef,
and chicken production has been slow to take hold. Meanwhile, the
high water table in some states where CAFOs exist, being only 10 feet
below the surface, such as in North Carolina, are easily contaminated
by the waste from such factories, in this case, hog production. The
huge corporations who are the ultimate beneficiaries of not having
any regulations do not want to be even minimally regulated.
Regulations are developing in these places, but the fight is
difficult for homeowners and small farmers who live in those areas.
CAFOs are found in many states across the U.S. and the problems are
generations, polluting industries have been placed in the poorest
parts of cities, villages, and towns, and that’s where the
poorest people live and, in many places, that’s where the black
and brown neighborhoods are. The practice of placing polluting
industries there has become known as environmental racism and it is
found in communities across the country, urban or rural. One
instance that has brought much attention is the presence of “bomb
trains” in New York’s capital city, Albany. The trains
are carrying crude oil that has been laced with a more flammable
liquid to make it flow more easily in transferring the liquid from
the railroad tank cars to barges in the Port of Albany, from which
the oil is taken to refineries in New Jersey and the metro area.
exploding tanker of the same mixture of oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec,
killed 47 people in 2013 in the conflagration that resulted from the
bomb train that derailed downtown. More than 30 buildings, about
half of the downtown area, were destroyed outright, and most of the
remaining buildings were demolished because of the oil contamination
of the village center. Stricter regulation of the handling of the
bomb train material, from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota,
through the rail lines, through to the low-income neighborhoods of
Albany, N.Y., just might prevent a disaster such as Lac-Megantic.
Eliminating the trains is what opponents are proposing.
are 80,000 chemicals currently in use in the U.S., according to the
National Resources Defense Council, and most have not been tested for
their effects on humans and the environment. The current “health
care crisis” can be attributed largely to the glut of such
substances in everyday life. People eat, drink, and breathe these
chemicals every day, and that’s in addition to the background
assaults of atmospheric drift of these substances, which eventually
end up in our lungs, on the ground, and in lakes, streams, and
rivers, from which we draw our drinking water. It’s all around
and those most affected are the poor and marginalized.
of the food industry do not want stricter regulation of their
production and distribution of food, because that takes money and
potentially reduces profits. Corporate America spends billions of
dollars every year to tell the people that it is the safest food in
the world. Even if it is “safe,” (which may mean that
you are not sickened outright) they never address the quality of
nutritional value in the food they sell. That would be another area
of regulation and corporations do not want, either the cost or the
care and the pharmaceutical corporations make up a huge area that
largely escapes regulation, although any CEO of one of them would
tell you that they are highly regulated. But, even if the drugs they
peddle are effective, they are allowed to price them out of the reach
of anyone without a health insurance program. That takes regulation
and American politicians are not inclined to examine and do something
and finance and banking are another pretty much unregulated area that
saps the economic life of working men and women. They have not been
reined in. What little “reining in” that was done by the
Obama Administration will be undone by the Trump Administration and
his Republicans in congress. The president does not want the money
manipulators to have to suffer the loss of profits, nor does he want
to suffer any loss to any of his many businesses, so those
manipulators will be free to do their fleecing of the people,
especially the poor. Even some Democrats in some places have sided
with the payday lenders whose interest rates reached 400 percent or
more. Again, it was mostly perpetrated on the working poor in the
poorest communities. Regulations are needed.
public lands and green spaces requires very close regulation and the
soldiers of Corporate America are lined up waiting for the existing
(mild) regulations to be lifted so they might drill, log, graze, and
mine any of the people’s land that is available. And, instead
of increasing regulations on such land, Trump and the GOP are
considering removing all regulation or turning it over to the states,
so the plundering can begin.
a time when the chasm between the 1 percent of the rich and the rest
of working America is so great, Trump’s announced “war on
regulation” means that he will act to take away the regulations
that make life livable in the U.S. The regulations that exist are
barely adequate to protect life in the nation and on Earth. The U.S.
is faced with a president who denies climate change science and is
backed up by an administration of like-minded staff, backed up by a
generally climate-change denying GOP in congress.
is a time of peril as far as the health of the environment is
concerned and those in power are concerned about their profits and
their growing income and wealth. Often in the past, the people have
said, “This is a dangerous time,” but this may be the
most dangerous time, because of all of the forces coming together at
the same time. And, the president is willing to remove some of the
safeguards to benefit himself and his rich friends, despite the
protests of the people.
short-lived victory of the Standing Rock Lakota in stopping the
Dakota Access pipeline is evidence that the people are awakening and
the women’s march on the day after the inauguration last month
showed that it is possible for the people to unite. Solidarity among
the people and all of their varied interests is what will bring to
heel the president, most politicians at every level of government,
and Corporate America. Nothing less will do and Trump’s “war
on regulation” will have to be brought to a dead halt, before
he and his retro army can gain any momentum. The “war on
regulation” is nothing less than a war to increase profits and
make that wealth gap even greater.