Thursday, October 20, 2011

Romney's Philosophy of Regulation

One of Republican candidate Mitt Romney's first acts as President, according to his plan for jobs and economic growth, will be to sign over to corporate America significant rights to your life, your health, and your property.

His Day-One plan includes an executive order that

Directs all agencies to immediately initiate the elimination of Obama-era regulations that unduly burden the economy or job creation, and then caps annual increases in regulatory costs at zero dollars

The first part of this is meaningless political gibberish - as if there is somebody out there who is a passionate defender of unduly burdening the economy. For the sake of the really stupid, I will explicitly state that the dispute is not over whether we should or should not unduly burden the economy, but what counts as an undue burden.

For this, we turn to the "zero dollars" clause.

I am a business owner. I am engaged in an activity that, it is discovered, kills, maims, or sickens others or damages their property, I get to continue that activity unless and until somebody is willing to pay me enough so that not doing harm costs me zero dollars.

Your right to life, health, and property are irrelevant. Your costs are irrelevant. The only thing that matters – the only standard on which regulations will be judged – is whether or not the regulation costs me, the Corporate American, zero dollars. If that rule is violated, the regulation will not take place.

This is functionally the same as saying, "I, a member of Corporate America, own certain rights to your life, health, and property. If you wish to prevent me from doing certain harms to your life, health, and property, you must pay me not to do so. Otherwise, I shall be considered at liberty to inflict those harms by any activity that I judge to be profitable. If you wish to buy me off so that I will not inflict those harms, you owe me at least as much as I would have made in profits by the activity that would have caused those harms – and not even one dollar less."

These are not the values I was raised to believe in. Those values state that all people have equal rights to life, liberty, and property, and it is the purpose of government to secure these rights. It is not the purpose of government to transfer those rights to Corporate America.

Though I do not believe in a creator (or, at least one that has beliefs and desires) or in intrinsic values, I hold that an honest examination of the moral facts reveals that people have many and strong reasons to promote a moral harming the life, health, and property of others. In other words, in declaring that such actions are immoral and those who would do so are . . . shall we say . . . lacking in certain virtues.

Okay . . . they’re selfish and evil.

In effect, Romney’s executive order is a massive government wealth transfer scheme from poor and middle class Americans to Corporate America.

I, the Corporate American, will either get the profits from the activity that harms others, or I will get at least an equal profit from being paid nit to cause harm. You, the muddle or lower class American, will either suffer the harms that I find profitable to inflict on others, or you will suffer the costs of paying me not to do harm."

In other words, I am richer and you are poorer.

Of course, it is not the case that all regulations prevent harming the life, health, and property of others. However, do not complain to me about the failure to make that distinction.

It is Romney in his Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth that fails to make any distinctions on this matter. If he had made distinctions and recognized other values, the rights people have not to suffer harm to their life, health, and property - then this objection would not have been made.

Instead, what we get from Romney, is a statement his regulatory philosophy holds that the purpose of government is not to secure the equal rights that all people have to their life, health, and property. Instead, governments exist for the purpose of securing the number of dollars in the pockets of Corporate America by ensuring that regulations remove not one dollar from those pockets.


mikespeir said...

Good stuff; but, dang, you need an editor!

Alonzo Fyfe said...

My biggest curse at the moment is the autocorrect on my iPad. It does a very good job of changing inserting exactly the wrong word - which later spell checking then does not catch.

I will be looking for alternatives.

Kristopher said...

i can't believe romney would really mean that. it just doesn't make any sense. a regulation against murder makes the assasination industry much more costly and reduces jobs... such blanket statements must be fluff to win the republican base which includes alot of people who cheer for this kind of nonsense.

instead of condemning romney for jumping through the hoops that are required of a republican running for office in the his country (unless you don't mind losing, like huntsman, by being honest) we should condemn the republican base for requiring such stupid hoops to be placed on the field.

but quite frankly becuase romney is so busy jumping through party hoops i have no idea what he would do as president... if he acted like he did when he was govenor it prolly wouldnt be so bad... problem is he keeps promising not to do that! other problem is that if he didn't he would be forgotten like huntsman.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

I am certain that Romney does not consider a prohibition against murder to be a regulation.

Though, in fact, the arguments against murder (or, more analogously, manslaughter) are the same as the arguments for some types of regulations.

I do not think Romney needed to make this particular claim to appeal to the base. In fact, since he is talking about an executive order that he says he would sign on the first day, if he does not do this on the first day, he will immediately show himself to have been a liar.

Kristopher said...

he has already shown himself to lie for convenient political gain

according to kornacki when Romney ran for office in Mass. he was unabashadly pro-choice and friendly to gay-rights. when he was thinking of running in Utah he set a more pro-life tone. and then when he returned to Mass. he was pro-choice until he wanted to make a presidential bid at which time he switched back to life. as his audience changes so does his message.

when he wants to be elected he gives whatever message suits his targeted audience. now his target audience is the republican base. in less than a year it will be the electorate as a whole and at that time i expect his message to change.

my source being:

quite frankly he seems more of a populist than an idealogue (like ron pual or bachman)

if he didnt run right now, using these falsehoods, he would be as ingored as huntsman or johnson.

is it good, maybe not. is it the only practical way to succeed?

not keeping campaign promises is something that is almost expected. if he didnt sign that executive order on day one i doubt anyone would notice.

i am sure he wouldn't call banning murder a regulation but its hard to find the difference between rigging a car to explode when it crashes and selling it to someone(murder or if no intent to kill manslaughter) and manufacturing a car that explodes on impact and selling it(car safety regulations)

frankly all criminal laws are regulating behavior in roughly the same way as the epa does for companies. if a person pumps cyanide into the drinking supply to earn 20$ and it kills people it is considered manslaughter... if a company does it to earn 2 million then it is disobeying "onerous, job killing" regulations and shouldn't have to change unless compensated!... according to mainstream republicans at least. frankly i dont understand the doublestandard.
and i doubt it is something that romney will support after the primary.

mojo.rhythm said...

Not only that, I believe that Romney wants to kill Dodd-Frank, and revert America back to the way it was prior to the crisis.

And this time around, the four banks have gotten many times bigger. Take Bank of America: it is sitting on 75 trillion dollars of derivatives bets, all backed up with investor and depositor money, with a federal guarantee against failure. Imagine if things go pear-shaped for them. America will be doomed.

America doesn't need to deregulate, it needs to RE-regulate.

Bring back Glass-Steagal immediately!