One of the functions of government is to protect its citizens from danger whether it is an invading army, criminal elements, or subversive groups attempting a coup d’état. America is fortunate enough to have a government that spends more than half of its budget on a powerful military that prevents foreign enemies from attacking our country or our allies who have valuable resources such as oil that we desperately need to remain the dominant force in the world. There are other forces the government uses to protect Americans’ air, water, medicine, food, and other natural resources from industrial poisons and without them in place, America would be a worse place to live than China. At the Republican debate in New Hampshire on Monday night, the panel of presidential hopefuls announced their hatred for regulatory agencies tasked with protecting our natural resources, and in the process showed their contempt for the safety, health, and well-being of the American people.
All seven of the presidential hopefuls lashed out at different regulatory agencies and called for scaling back or eliminating labor, financial, environmental and health-care rules that serve no other purpose than to protect Americans and the natural resources that sustain life. Apparently, the Republicans fail to see the necessity of clean air, safe drinking water, and rules to prevent predatory corporations from raping more life out of beleaguered Americans. Each of the participants in the debate took shots at different regulatory agencies, but it was the hateful Michele Bachmann who said the Environmental Protection Agency should be renamed “the job killing organization of America.”
Maybe Mrs. Bachmann enjoys drinking fracking-tainted water, or breathing air saturated with sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which react with water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acid rain, but for most Americans, the prospect is unacceptable, and without environmental regulations is a death sentence to the quality of life Americans expect. Bachmann’s contention that the EPA is a job killing organization stems from her allegiance to oil industry magnates Charles and David Koch as well as most corporate manufacturers. The Republican Party has been attacking and demonizing the EPA since Ronald Reagan was president. Reagan believed the EPA’s effectiveness should be tied to corporate profits and he was responsible for cutting the EPA staff by 11% and its budget by 12%. It is noteworthy that after Reagan slashed EPA funding, there were more jobs lost and the economy suffered a sustained downturn, so Bachmann’s assertion is fallacious on its face, and a pitiful talking point at best.
The other potential candidates assailed the Wall Street regulation law as well as the Sarbanes-Oxley law that was approved after the Enron and WorldCom collapses in 2001. The law which set new or enhanced standards for U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms was overwhelmingly passed in both houses of Congress. George W. Bush signed the bill into law and said it included “the most far-reaching reforms of American business practices since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.” The law only applies to public companies and does not impact privately held organizations. The Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney made a predictable libertarian move and called for turning FEMA over to states, or better yet, private corporations who will make a profit while ignoring federal standards for reacting to natural disasters and national emergencies.
During the Clinton Administration, the EPA budget contained the largest increase ever to protect public health and the environment and it is no secret that his administration presided over one of the most prosperous economic periods in recent memory. Republicans have always championed deregulation as a means to grow the economy, but their claims are absolute rubbish. The Republicans are not concerned with job creation, but with enriching corporations at the expense of Americans’ health. The spending cuts Republicans proposed in the spring called for massive cuts to all consumer protection agencies as a cost-saving measure, but the total savings of approximately $2 billion is less than the amount Americans give oil companies in subsidies, and if they reach fruition, will cost Americans nearly 500,000 jobs to which Speaker of the House John Boehner flippantly remarked, “So be it.”
It is obvious that Republicans are not concerned that regulatory agencies kill jobs, because they know they do not inhibit economic growth or kill jobs. They repeat the job-killing meme for their ignorant supporters who are out of work because the GOP has promoted outsourcing jobs as a means of enriching corporations that pay little or no taxes on foreign profits. The media is culpable for not reporting the truth that regulations are necessary to protect air, water, consumer’s life savings, and critical food and drug sources because they too benefit from deregulation. The Wall Street reform bill protects consumers from losing their retirement savings like they did in the market crash of 2007-08. Republicans hate regulations that affect the working class, and apparently, they have little regard for their own families who will have to breathe particle-polluted air and drink water poisoned with industrial chemicals just to make corporations richer.
Americans who have suffered the ill-effects of environmental disasters know that if adequate protections were in place, they would never have been poisoned with carcinogens or suffered respiratory diseases from polluted air. Michele Bachmann said that carbon dioxide is not harmful to breathe, and her partner-in-stupidity, Sarah Palin, said she enjoyed breathing motorcycle emissions. Both of the teabaggers are intelligent enough that they will not breathe pure carbon dioxide or sit in an enclosed garage with a car’s motor running, but their followers believe anything their heroines tell them, and coupled with their bigotry toward a Black man in the Oval Office, make a dangerous voting bloc that may sway an election.
Most conservative Americans have no problem approving the government spending over half of its budget to maintain a powerful military to protect our security and freedom, but with Republicans parroting the “regulations kill jobs” meme ad nauseum, they balk at spending a fraction of oil company subsidies to ensure there is clean air and safe drinking water. Republicans also attempted to cut the weather service’s early warning system, the nuclear regulatory agency, the FDA, poison control, and the Centers for Disease Control and are still working to eliminate those agencies. They are not cutting regulatory agencies to save jobs, but to save corporations’ bottom line, and if Americans have to suffer and die, then as John Boehner said, so be it. Americans deserve better from their politicians, but Republicans deserve nothing except long prison sentences for attempted toxic homicide and for their contempt for the American people. Apparently, the Republican’s nauseating promise to protect the “Sanctity of Life” is just another catch-phrase to engender support from polluted, poisoned, and pitiful supporters.