Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is going on a deregulation spree ostensibly to create jobs, even though the non-partisan CBO clearly laid out that deregulation does not create jobs. Public safety be damned; in Michigan, you will no longer need a state license to conduct business and those pesky professional boards are gone. It’s a Galt free-for-all, y’all!
The list of 18 professions Governor Snyder’s Office of Regulatory Reinvention (I kid you not) has determined do not need to be regulated include respiratory care, acupuncture, consumer financial services consultants, dietitians and nutritionists, polygraph examiners, insurance solicitors, landscape architects, and speech pathologists.
The Reinventionists are also killing the Board of Acupuncture, the Board of Auctioneers, the Board of Carnivals & Amusement Rides, the Board of Dietetics & Nutrition, the Board of Occupational Therapy, the Board of Respiratory Care, the Board of Speech Language Pathology, the Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Board and the Ski Area Safety Board.
So you hired an unlicensed respiratory care provider and you died? The market will fix it. After all, Snyder says it’s for the jobs. Except that there is no data that shows that jobs are created when the government deregulates.
In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office suggests, “If policymakers wanted to boost the economy in the near term while seeking to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability, a combination of policies would be required: changes in taxes and spending that would widen the deficit now but reduce it later in the decade.”
Did we all hear that? Widen the deficit NOW, but reduce it later. Let’s break it down to basics so even the most ideologically driven can hear us:
DEREGULATION DOES NOT LEAD TO JOB CREATION. This is not up for debate, it is not an ideological divide, and it’s not an opinion. This is a fact.
The Los Angeles Times wrote,
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reinforced what private-sector economists have been saying for months: The best proposals to spur the economy would cost the government but prove better at quickly creating jobs than pursuing an anti-regulatory policy as proposed Republicans in Congress.
CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf said extending unemployment benefits or payroll tax breaks to those who are most likely to spend the money, as well as providing as tax credits to companies that hire new workers, are among the types of policies that could best boost the economy and create jobs. Rolling back regulations would not have the same immediate jolt, according to a new report.
These are the same policies President Obama has been pushing for because even though he has his own ideological bent, he chooses numbers and facts over belief. Thus he agreed to reduce payroll taxes for small business even though he is a Democrat. It’s enough to make a person wonder if we need to rename the parties: Sanity (Democrat) and Insanity (Republican).
It’s willfully obtuse to assume that there is no reason for said regulations. Each regulation was put into place for a reason. Now, maybe it’s worth investigating those reasons and determining if they are valid and outweigh the potential risk of not having them, but first we need to examine why the regulations were put into place — failure to do so demonstrates either an exceptionally limited mind or a corporate agenda.
I’m willing to be that members of those professions slated to be deregulated as well as consumers have valid reasons why they created these boards. Let’s take carnival rides as an example. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that 2/3 of all ride-related injuries involve children, but there’s very little federal oversight of carnival rides. The Daily Beast reported in 2010:
More than 2,000 people sustained injuries on amusement park rides, dozens of which required overnight hospital care, according to a state-by-state analysis of data conducted by The Daily Beast.
Federal oversight governing ride accidents is scant; there are no agencies that track accidents in permanent parks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is tasked with investigating and collecting data on accidents that occur on mobile rides, but its last comprehensive report and analysis was publicly released four years ago.
That leaves a gap in safety regulation, with oversight occurring mostly at the state level. Only about half the states have a regulatory system in place, with varying degrees of detail, covering permanent parks and traveling carnivals.
Regulation is simply an effort to reduce accidents by having a set of standards in place, by no means does it imply those standards are being upheld via oversight – but who would do that? The too often defunded government agency in charge of oversight.
The Michigan “reinventionists” claim that while they are getting rid of the board that oversees carnival rides, they recommend “the licensing and inspections should continue and fees should be increased to be sufficient to cover administrative costs of regulation. Similarly, the ORR recommends that Ski Area Safety licensing and inspections should continue and fees should be increased to be sufficient to cover administrative costs.”
However, the report doesn’t suggest specific amounts for these fees and lawmakers would have to pass any fee increases, so essentially, they’ve just deregulated carnival rides and promised that they will continue inspections based upon a soon-to-come licensing fee. The check is in the mail.
It’s also a fact that professionals who are unlicensed at the state level face challenges when going up for government contracts or out of state work because they are competing with licensed professionals. So how, or more precisely, whom is deregulating helping exactly?
I say this often, but it bears repeating. What Snyder is doing in Michigan is not Republicanism or free market capitalism, it is corporatism pure and simple. It has no real reason for its “beliefs” because they are not beliefs, but rather a heavily shrouded corporate agenda.
The modern day Republican Party as evinced in folks like Snyder and Walker is so far Right they’ve gone off the Libertarian cliff and landed in a corporate controlled Somalia where armed citizens shoot at will, scrounge for food and take a risk when they go for respiratory therapy. Everything under this “ideology” benefits corporations, and that’s why it makes no logical sense. This is why they bury their talking points in social issues and a complete unwillingness to recognize and deal with factual reality.
It’s being sold as “small government” capitalism, but it is in fact corporatism. In this scenario, no one but the corporations gets any protection from bad actors. The corporation is defended from greedy litigants, lazy workers and government oversight, while the consumer and the citizen are set out in the desert without food or water and told to survive while con artists and grifters chase them down and the Republican government picks their pockets clean of every last cent in order to fund the Corporation.
The same Republicans who are working for “tort reform” so that you can’t sue bad actors are now saying you can always sue someone who kills you through their negligence, so there’s no need for regulations. Of course, as Six Flags proved, you’ll need to fight the $6 million dollar defense of the mega corporation and you’ll probably lose. Thus, the market is rigged to benefit and protect corporations, but not for the sake of jobs. No; the market is being rigged for corporate profit.
Rick Snyder ran in Michigan as a moderate Republican. I hope this sinks in with real moderate Republicans and Independent voters. The Republican Party as they have known it is no more. A vote for a Republican, no matter how moderate they may pretend to be, is a vote for policies aimed squarely at helping corporations rob from taxpayers, public health be damned.
Republicans like to sell their ideas as “common sense” and when you point out that in fact non-partisan experts have debunked their ideas, they simply smile and repeat their “beliefs”. A belief that has been debunked is not a belief, but a lie.
Does the government sometimes over-regulate? Sure. But is that the biggest problem facing America right now or is the problem a lack of jobs?
The problem is a lack of jobs, and the facts and the math say deregulation is not the solution, so the entire premise for this deregulation spree is faulty and does not justify putting the public at risk to such a degree.
But, even if deregulation could solve the jobs problem, did we forget how we got into this awful economy? We got here through massive Republican-led deregulation of the financial industry. Only someone with a hidden agenda would suggest that more deregulation was the answer to our current problems.
The issue is jobs, and deregulation does not create jobs, so why is Snyder focused on deregulation and not job creation? Why is deregulation such a priority? We need a valid reason for focusing on killing regulations (aka; consumer protections), since “job creation” is a bunch of hooey.
Where are the jobs bills, Republicans?
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.