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.