U.S. Senator Dan “the Carpetbagger” Sullivan (R, Ohio, Koch) still hasn’t taken WC off of his email list. So WC received his September 12 missive, in which he boasts:
I recently introduced the RED (Regulations Endanger Democracy) Tape Act to stem the alarming bombardment of federal rules and regulations. This is a priority for me. Such regulations are costing the country roughly $2 trillion a year. If U.S. regulations were a country, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world.
Few states are as negatively affected by overly burdensome regulations as is Alaska. Something must be done. My bill is a good start.
Even for the Carpetbagger, these statements are egregiously stupid. Every regulation costs someone money. And the absence of regulations costs money. Generally, the costs gets passed on to you and WC when we purchase goods and services. The question is not whether a regulation costs us money; the question is is whether the cost-benefit ratio justifies the regulations. This distinction has apparently escaped the Carpetbagger.
We have regulations on the testing and use of medications. It adds to the cost of every drug we buy. But it also reduces the risk of quack medicines and tragedies like the use of Thalidomide. If the Carpetbagger doesn’t know about the quack nostrums that led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, or the horrors of Thalidomide babies, then WC suggests he educate himself before mouthing off about the costs of regulations.
We have regulations on mining and the use of water in mining because the Rocky Mountains are riddled with abandoned mines that are leaching poisons into America’s streams and rivers. It will cost trillions of dollars to secure those abandoned mines, if they can be secured at all. The cost of regulations on new mining are fully justified if they prevent just one such new disaster.
We have regulations on off-shore oil drilling because the oil drilling industry has repeatedly created catastrophic spills, devastating fishing, tourism and critical habitat. In the Deepwater Horizon spill alone, there were more than $100 billion in losses, and those losses continue to accrue. By comparison, a few hundred million in permitting costs are chickenfeed.
We have the most regulations on taxes, especially income tax. And those regulations exist because rich buggers like the Carpetbagger have for a hundred years now tried “creative” ways to dodge paying their taxes, and regulations get written to close the loopholes. Make no mistake, 99% of those regulations have nothing to do with regular folks. They apply only to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. Which certainly includes the Carpetbagger and his family. When the Carpetbagger criticizes those regulations, he is working hard at lining his own pockets.
One final example, this one from the Carpetbagger’s own home state. Ohio is the home of the Cuyahoga River, at one time the most polluted river in the United States. Famously, it caught fire and burned. More than once. The Clean Water Act and the regulations issued by the much-criticized Environmental Protection Agency cleaned up the Cuyahoga and hundreds of other streams across the U.S. Of course, the Carpetbagger’s family owns an Ohio-based chemical manufacturing conglomerate, RPM International. So perhaps his unwillingness to recognize the importance of regulations has something to do with his stock dividends. But that’s speculation. Maybe the Carpetbagger just enjoys watching rivers burn.
But whether it’s shocking ignorance of cost-benfit analysis or appalling pandering to industry, the Carpetbaggger has embarrassed himself.