Baseball With No Umpires? The GOP Thinks So…

It's the year 2016, and there's still one very basic economic principle that "fiscal conservatives" and so-called "free market" Republicans refuse to understand.

Regulations are good.


And they aren't just good for you and me.

They're actually really, really, good for the economy as a whole.

And really, when you think of it, that just makes sense. Just like you wouldn't enjoy a football or baseball game without rules for the game and umpires and referees to implement and enforce them, we similarly don't want people or companies engaging in the game of business, particularly when those businesses produce physical or economic poisons, without specific rules and referees to protect the public. If you ask any Republican though, they'll tell you that Democrats should never be elected because Democrats support "business killing regulations".

Republican politicians actually put their hatred for regulations and regulatory agencies at the center of their platforms, and they use it to bolster their credibility as anti-American-government fiscal conservatives.

Back in 2012, Rick Perry tried to make the case during a Republican debate that the so-called "free market" could work its supposed magic if the federal government just did away with three agencies, and he almost remembered all three of them.

Ted Cruz one-upped Perry this year in the Republican primary by offering to abolish four agencies, and he'd even abolish the Department of Commerce twice.

Those gaffs were entertaining during the Republican debates, but now Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, and he's been saying for months that he wants to do away with environmental protections.

But the fact is, Trump and the anti-regulation Republicans are flat out dead wrong about regulations, and especially environmental regulations.

Dr. Joe Romm at ClimateProgress points out that cutting the Environmental Protection Agency might increase GDP, but he also points out that GDP is a terrible measure of a country's true economic well-being.

And that's not a new opinion, that's what Robert Kennedy pointed out in a speech at Kansas University shortly before he was assassinated 48 years ago.

Coincidentally, the very agencies that protect our children's health and assure their educations are the same agencies that Trump and the other anti-American-government Republicans want to eliminate to quote "save costs" and "shrink the budget" to make space for more tax cuts and tax loopholes for billionaires.

The truth is though, that government investments in new regulations from agencies like the EPA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Energy actually create hundreds of billions of dollars more in benefits for the general public than they cost.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the total cost of 120 rules that 10 agencies implemented over the 10 year period between 2004 and 2014 was between 68 billion and 103 billion dollars based on the value of the dollar in 2010.

That may seem like a lot, but at most it's only about one-sixth of what we spent in 2015 on the military.

And the cost of regulation is a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits from regulation.

According to the report , that 103 billion dollars in costs created up to 981 billion dollars in real, measurable benefits like healthier children .

That's nearly one TRILLION dollars in benefits that the United States got for a price tag of only 100 billion dollars, which means that the United States got a return of 10 dollars in benefits for every 1 dollar spent on new major regulations between 2004 and 2014.

The Department of Health and Human Services for example passed 16 new rules that cost up to 4.9 billion dollars and created up to nearly 36 billion dollars in benefits for the economy between 2004 and 2014, meaning that those regulations created 7 dollars in benefits for every dollar spent on implementation.

The Department of Energy, a favorite target of anti-American government conservatives, passed 20 major rules which cost the government only 9 billion dollars between 2004 and 2014, and those rules created up to 29 billion dollars in benefits for a rate of return of more than three dollars for every dollar spent.

The EPA though is far and away the best investment in terms of regulatory agencies.

The EPA put 32 major rules in place that cost up to 45.4 billion dollars over the 10 year period covered in the report, and those 32 major rules created up to 788 billion dollars in benefits for the United States.

That’s an incredible return on investment for the United States economy of nearly 20 dollars for every dollar spent on EPA rules alone.

So when anti-American government Republicans like Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, and Donald Trump start talking about how regulations are bad for the economy and how the EPA stifles growth, it's important to remember that they aren't talking about the economy as a whole.

They're only talking about the impact on private corporate profits and returns for shareholders.

Because that's all they care about.

The fact is, anti-government Republicans would rather those costs be spread around to society in the form of unbreathable air, undrinkable water, and illiterate children, because with fewer regulations and a less educated work force they can pocket more in profits and pay out more in dividends to shareholders.

It's time to end the myth that regulations hurt the economy.

The truth is, passing smart federal regulations is one of the best economic, and social, investments that we can make as a country.


PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 6 years 51 weeks ago

The Republican members of Congress in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives have been behaving as though they are domestic terrorists intent on destroying the United States economy. Not merely their anger about the EPA but their attack on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

This was their idea in the first place. Republican think tanks came up with this idea and used it successfully in Massachuttes. Now they hate the plan but only because they believe it is a good plan. They cannot stand for Democrats, and in particular President Barack Obama to get credit for the idea. Instead, they have attacked Obamacare merciously. If they could get their way they would put more than 20 million Americans out of coverage. They argue that they would devise something better, but so far they refuse to even consider any other idea. If they had a better plan I am confident that the Democrats and President Obama would embrace their clearly better idea. The only thought I have heard them toss around is to let the various states experiment with new health insurance plans. However, health coverage is like national security . . . it is a national issue, not a state by state issue. That is why I conclude that the Republicans elected to Congress are behaving as though they were a domestic terrorist organization.

If they got their way with killing Obamacare they would cause the death of at least 10,000 people every year who would die because they could not obtain health services that were available but they could not get in the system. My wife could not get health care coverage for decades because she had "pre-existing conditions." Now she is covered. It is a blessing.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 6 years 51 weeks ago

They had paul ryan on the evening news just now (NY feed). He was backpeddling his endorsement of Trump. He said that we are the "Party of LIncoln" after all and cannot be seens racists enablers. The asshole also said that their party is the pary of "upward mobility". What a bunch of bullshit. The newscaster should have challenged him on these statements. They are the party of Lincoln no longer. What an insult to a great president. It is bullshit that they are the party of "Upward Mobility ". This was a complete f'ing lie. We have to get rid of this asshole.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 6 years 51 weeks ago

Thank you! Reagan's deregulation mania liberated corporate powers from rules and restraints, and we've been paying a very high price for it.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 6 years 51 weeks ago

Please note (or check the Congressional records via that since the 1990s, the Clinton wing in Congress have given significant support to the Republican right wing. The devil's in the details, and it appears that few wish to be bothered with details.

cccccttttt 6 years 51 weeks ago

Only Bernie can claim the high ground.

Both the dems and repubs drink at the same corporate trough.


IM Jussayin 6 years 51 weeks ago

Whenever I hear a current day Republican try to claim Lincoln, I tell him that I'm certain that, if Abe were alive today he'd be a Democrat.

biggdaddybroke's picture
biggdaddybroke 6 years 50 weeks ago

If trump is able to stop his own mouth and just focus on hillary Clinton then the Democratic establishment has just handed trump the election. Hear me out! The Republicans hate the Clinton's and will vote for anyone not named hillary. There are also millions of Democrats that believe hillary is at least a wall Street Democrat and do not trust hillary. TRADE AGREEMENTS AND WALL ST TIES are more than enough to turn me away. I will write in Bernie Sanders.
I will not vote like a Republican and vote who ever is the nominee. This is what the establishment wanted this is what they'll get. Hillary will lose to trump and the DNC can only blame themselves. Take your emotions out of it and be honest with your selves. Does hillary have enough establishment voters to win? I think not.

Legend 6 years 50 weeks ago

The Party of Lincoln today certainly is not against slavery. We import it with Visa's and we export it to other countries when we buy goods manufactured by people making less than our minimum wage (as low as $0.50 per hour). The Party of Lincoln is against raising the minimum wage. The Party of Lincoln is against Overtime for some phony supervisors position that is salaried at $23000 per year. The Party of Lincoln is pro slavery.

ikeberltersen's picture
ikeberltersen 6 years 50 weeks ago

Talk of 'burdensome regulations' is just a cover for an agenda of crony capitalism. Republicans and their billionaire owners want all the benefits of a government that provides a framework for business and none of the obligations. We tend to forget just how much is done by the governmet to ensure adequate infrastructure, protection of commerce, a sound money system, certifications, tax breaks, etc etc. All these things make it possible to have a successful business. Yet they are outraged that the government will require business to play by some rules, even when many of those rules are rigged by a corrupt system in favor of business. Talk of a 'free market' is nonsense, there is no such thing as a free market unless government provides a favorable environment for that market to operate in. These people want to have their cake and eat it too.

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