The Transylvania Times -

Regulations Protect Us


February 13, 2017

We have been bombarded by right-wing tirades against “big government” and “regulations.” President Trump decrees dropping two regulations for every new one enacted. Assuming he makes this executive order stick, the probable result is no new regulations. Possibly modifications to existing regulations will not count as new ones, but who knows?

I think we have forgotten that all regulations are made to protect the public from harm from businesses or individuals who have no regard for whether their actions may hurt others. Think of drivers’ licenses, traffic rules, building permit rules. Think of keeping our food free of mercury, arsenic, and all the other poisons, contaminants and bacteria. Think of keeping our water clean enough to drink and air clean enough to breathe.

Sure, regulations can cost businesses some money and may increase product prices, but how is there any justice in allowing private profits from pollution while putting costs on other people via health or loss of property value? Do we really want cheap goods (or jobs) produced at another person’s expense? The saved cost and increased profits from being allowed to dump pollutants into a river are costs put on the downstream users to clean up that water. Occupational Health and Safety Rules force industries to protect their workers. Is the cost to the business more important than the cost to a worker injured by unsafe practices?

Most employers, I think, want to be responsible. But without regulations, the irresponsible ones will have an economic advantage, causing all competitors to take the low road, and the costs will fall on us in one way or another.

For some reason, when it comes to regulations, we seem obsessed with restrictions on us, rather than on what harm others can do to us.

Bill Thomas

Cedar Mountain


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