Republican Congressman Darrell Issa has put a form online where business owners can submit their ideas for how the GOP can reduce regulations that protect Americans in order to improve their corporate bottom line. While that’s all well and good, perhaps it would be good for him to know that regulations can HELP businesses as well by leveling the playing field and spurring innovation. There are a group of climate activists that are working with businesses asking them to flood the site with stories about helpful regulations such as the ones President Obama discussed the other day in his speech to the US Chamber of Commerce:
Few of us would want to live in a society without rules that keep our air and water clean; that give consumers the confidence to do everything from investing in financial markets to buying groceries. And the fact is, when standards like these have been proposed in the past, opponents have often warned that they would be an assault on business and free enterprise. We can look at the history in this country. Early drug companies argued the bill creating the FDA would “practically destroy the sale of … remedies in the United States.” That didn’t happen. Auto executives predicted that having to install seatbelts would bring the downfall of their industry. It didn’t happen. The President of the American Bar Association denounced child labor laws as “a communistic effort to nationalize children.” That’s a quote.
None of these things came to pass. In fact, companies adapt and standards often spark competition and innovation. I was travelling when I went up to Penn State to look at some clean energy hubs that have been set up. I was with Steve Chu, my Secretary of Energy. And he won a Nobel Prize in physics, so when you’re in conversations with him you catch about one out of every four things he says.
But he started talking about energy efficiency and about refrigerators, and he pointed out that the government set modest targets a couple decades ago to start increasing efficiency over time. They were well thought through; they weren’t radical. Companies competed to hit these markers. And they hit them every time, and then exceeded them. And as a result, a typical fridge now costs half as much and uses a quarter of the energy that it once did — and you don’t have to defrost, chipping at that stuff and then putting the warm water inside the freezer and all that stuff. It saves families and businesses billions of dollars.
So regulations didn’t destroy the industry; it enhanced it and it made our lives better — if they’re smart, if they’re well designed.
A food provider whose industry got a boost in confidence?
An industry flooded with cheap imports until the imports had to meet US quality standards?
Federal vehicle mileage standards that create an environment where an auto company isn’t penalized for creating more fuel-efficient cars that cost a bit more to make & sell.
These are the types of things that should be held up as examples of GOOD regulations, not things to cut or eliminate.
If you know of friendly business owner or three or are a business owner yourself, here’s the form you can use to submit your ideas of regulations to KEEP because they help businesses and help AMERICANS!
I’m just sayin’…
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