Deregulation kills people – which is evident when you consider that the reason for regulation in the first place was to save lives and protect health. Regulation ensures that people without power retain some say in the quality of their own lives. The history of  America before regulation is a guide to how cruel life is without it.

As is the Grenfell towers disaster.

A bonfire of the vanities.

Conservative governments in the UK had enthusiastically slashed building regulations. Rich folk from one of London’s poshest boroughs thought the public housing in their neighborhood needed a bit of sprucing up. And nothing fit the bill better than a sandwich of aluminum with a combustible filling. Newer, slacker regulations permitted it. And the building did indeed look better – until it burned down – killing 79.

Remarkably, the combustible cladding used in London is prohibited in the US. But don’t be surprised if that changes. There is a ‘pro-profit at any human cost’ zeal in America. These business-first types – who style themselves as ‘free market’ proponents – portray business regulation as an undemocratic, job-killing overreach by pedantic bureaucrats with a socialist ax to grind.

And they use this propaganda to convince the regular Joe that what is good for business is good for him. With talk of ‘freedom’, they seduce the deluded to cheer lustily for measures that poison their food, pollute their water and by any measure dimish their quality of life.

Who among us would bemoan a law that forbids a neighbor peeing in his pool? No one surely. But the same homeowner who so zealously guards the clarity of his swimming water is often indifferent to the ravages visited on his drinking water by corporations far away.

It is a conservative genius to convince the little guy that regulations which protect his interests are actually stifling his finances and endangering his health. I’ll let the coal mining industry illustrate. It is a dirty and dangerous profession made safer by federal regulations. Mining companies think it is ridiculous that health and safety should be a consideration, so they throw money at their political poodles to grease the profit skids.

At the same time, they promise jobs and benefits to their workers, who in turn demand that their representatives do as asked. But what are the workers getting? Coal employment in West Virginia peaked in 1974. Jobs are going away because of mechanization and natural gas – burdensome regulation has nothing to do with it. Once again the worker is reduced to a profit generator – easily replaced.

Are there some regulations that we could do without? For sure. But for as many as we could curtail there are those that should be expanded. But even that quid pro quo path is fraught with peril. The pro-business British conservatives mandated that for every new regulation, three be shed. How arbitrary. It is like saying for every traffic sign erected three must come down. Perhaps three can, or even four. But what if only two – or one – is superfluous?

And shouldn’t the people who decide what is or isn’t a necessary regulation be impartial? It’s reasonable. But that’s not the way it works. Business buys politicians, and it is business’s bidding that holds sway. The American people are celebrated in speeches – but in the grubby day-to-day of existence, they can just suffer in peace while the lucky few enjoy the benefits of a stacked deck.

And if you have any doubt of that, ask yourself how many bank CEOs have ever thought that profits be damned – his primary responsibility is to treat his customers honorably. I rest my case.


How Democrats can Win: Five Easy Pieces of Advice.

June 23, 2017

Democrats are getting hammered. And the excuses are flying. The “we’re losing less badly than before and besides it’s a Republican district” rationale for losing congressional races is a consolation prize where consolation is meaningless. In politics, all that counts is winning. And until the Democrats get some checks in the ‘W’ column they are irrelevant. What do Democrats […]

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The Constitution Wasn’t Designed to Make it Easier To Shoot Steve Scalise

June 15, 2017

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) – and four others – were gunned down on a baseball field. Luckily nobody died except for the gunman. Quick action by dedicated Capitol police prevented a bigger disaster. And the GOP quickly decried the ready availability of assault weapons to crazy people. All these statements are true – except the last one. […]

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Trump Returns Home. Expect Tweets.

May 27, 2017

In summing up his trip abroad, Donald Trump told a captive audience of American military personnel in Sicily, “I think we hit a home run no matter where we are”. In short, he was Queen Victoria playing fantasy sports, while losing track of his tenses. Seriously, it is hard to think what his successes were. He […]

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What Republicans Can Learn From Derek Jeter.

May 19, 2017

The Yankees retired Derek Jeter’s number a week ago. The New York baseball great was an accomplished player and a man beloved by both the hometown faithful and his rivals. Even the hated Red Sox Nation saluted him. Which raises the question: Why? Simply put, he instinctively knew how to react and what to say. […]

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Trump, Russia, Flynn, Comey, Pence & the 2018 Election.

May 16, 2017

Trump defends his blabbing state secrets to the Russians by saying he has the right to say what he said. Which is to miss the point. Just because you have the right doesn’t mean you should. The Westboro Baptist Church has the right to say what they say. Predictably, Fox News is doing yeoman’s work […]

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Trump Zealots Just Can’t Quit Their Man.

May 14, 2017

The most notable feature of the Trump presidency is the slavish loyalty of his acolytes. Even as a majority of Americans see his term as an unremitting failure, Trump’s true believers see it as a blemish-free saga of extreme success. His approval ratings are dismal. But over 90% of those who voted for him say […]

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Why Was Comey Fired? The Administration Offers Everything Except the Truth.

May 11, 2017

The Trump administration is the gang who couldn’t shoot straight. All Presidents lie, prevaricate, spin – but no administration has done it worse since – and it is a fair comparison –  Nixon. Take the Comey firing. They obviously can’t admit the real reason. That either Comey was getting too close to an uncomfortable truth – […]

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Republicans Have Never Met a Regular Guy They Wouldn’t Screw.

May 7, 2017

Republicans ran on the promise that they would repeal and replace Obamacare. They portrayed the ACA as so magnificently evil that any replacement would be better. Now House Republicans have kept half of their commitment. They did repeal and replace Obamacare, but remarkably they found something worse. Trump helped. In his desperation to pass something, anything, to […]

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