What the Republicans across their various stripes say; “less government regulations and rules will help create jobs”, sounds like it should be true. But is it? Well Yes, and No. Less government regulations will certainly mean more profit for the corporations involved in a de-regulated industry; but does that also mean they will create more jobs? Not necessarily.
If there were no OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) to discover that the manufacturing of asbestos products was killing the employees; would Johns-Manville have hired more workers? No, because they were making all the asbestos products the market called for already. They just would have been able to continue pocketing their profits; with no interference, without the cost of increased workman’s compensation, and no settlement money to all the workers who were made terminally ill while working for them.
If there was no FDA (Food & Drug Administration) checking on the meat and produce being imported, slaughtered, harvested, processed and distributed in this country, would Archer-Daniels-Midland, Dow, et al be growing or importing more corn or soy or hogs, requiring more of a labor force-legal or illegal? No, they are producing all the product they can market already. In fact they are over producing products such as corn because there is a government provided corporate welfare subsidy on corn; of which they take as much advantage as they can. But absent regulations, they would make more of a profit, because they wouldn’t ever have to dump or throw out product that didn’t meet inspection rules, because those rules would no longer exist. There would however be a rise in the incidents of various food borne bacterial and viral cause illness and death. But absent rules; finding the source amongst the billions of tons of uninspected grain or meat, and consequently assigning liability, would be impossible. Agri-businesses profits would accrue unimpeded.
If the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) were to suddenly disappear, would Big Gas and Oil be expanding and hiring more employees. In this case, unfortunately the answer is Yes. If they were allowed to expand their off-shore drilling to the East coast of the US, or commence Tar Sand Oil exploitation in this country’s northern plains, or Frack for natural gas in the Chesapeake and Delaware River Watersheds, all without the watchful eye of the EPA on them; you can bet dollars to doughnuts they would sprint ahead full speed. Letting Big O & G operate without the strictest of oversight, regulations and laws would undoubtedly increase their number of employees in the short term. Oil & Gas exploitation is a notoriously dirty boom and bust business. It would also very likely produce the most the most disastrous consequences; as it has often has in the past. The BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is just the most recent in a long list of major contamination, pollution and environmental destruction caused by the petrochemical industry.
Serious environmental catastrophes have a staggeringly huge cost that goes along with them. This cost is both short term and long term. In the Gulf, many of the American citizens who were damaged in both material and personal ways, have yet to be compensated fairly, or at all. The actual cost of governmental services of all sorts that were and are required (and paid for by US taxpayers) due to the events in the Gulf are so enormous that; the true extent and amount of expense or how much of it was ever collected from the liable parties, may never be determined or settled.
In the long term, whatever benefits were and are to be gained by reducing government regulations, particularly when it comes to the issues of health, safety and well being of American citizens and our environment; the real cost, just in dollars, often outweighs, by a large amount, any and all benefits that go to the American workers involved. In fact relaxing regulations on corporate entities often costs the American taxpayer a ton of money. Almost all of the benefits go into the corporate coffers. Multinational conglomerates are usually the only ones who really gain from de-regulation.
The long term costs of the lack of appropriate regulation all falls on the over burdened shoulders of the 98% of the American population who don’t get any special interest tax breaks and thus wind up paying more than their fair share of the expenses corporate greed and indifference create. Those costs include, but are not limited to; the clean-up of toxic pollution; mitigation of the damage which destruction of the natural environment causes; restoration of the natural environment; dealing with the consequences of the economic, social and political chaos caused by massive environmental exploitation.
Sometime redress of these issue isn’t even possible. The massive destructive changes to the land and water caused by Sand-Tar exploitation can only be marginally addressed in just a cosmetic manner. Even the petrochemical industry will admit; the enormous areas of mountain and forest removal and the contamination of water sources caused by Sand-Tar mining can’t ever be restored to any semblance of the previous natural state. An area the size of Florida is now being destroyed in Alberta, Canada and the same process is being proposed for parts of the northern plains in this country.
The potential contamination of the water supply of the 20+ million people, in several states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic by the process of Fracking in the Marcellus Shale Play is another example of the sort of environmental disaster for which there may be no prevention or solution. Off-shore oil and gas drilling on the east coast presents the same potential scenario for environmental damages that cannot be fully prevented or mitigated; even with our present level of legal environmental protection by the appropriate agencies.
Absent the legal authority for regulation and control of corporate interests in the area of environmental protection, the potential for damage, destruction and contamination to a level that would make large areas of this country virtually uninhabitable, is in the long term, too massive to even contemplate. This may be true, no matter how seemingly attractive the very short gain in jobs might be. Proper stewardship of America’s economic and social future is very much part of the job of the Federal government. It is specifically delineated in the US Constitution as the purpose and obligation of the Federal government to; “provide for …, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, …..”.
To do any less than fully protect the American people by protecting their environment, in the name of “job creation”, by ignoring or rejecting the responsibilities fulfilled by our Federal regulating agencies; is a failure to uphold and carry out the sworn constitutional duty of every public official, bordering on treason.