In the Middle East, the people rise up against their madmen. In the USA, we let them appear in televised debates.
I am increasingly both mystified and terrified by the preponderance of dishonest talking points and false narratives in the current political discourse. Of course, I am also generally mystified and terrified by most of the Republicans running for President currently and the ones in office who have the ability to make or break legislation, as well. After reading day after day the quotes from the likes of Romney, Cain, Perry, Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, et al., about how the President is anti-business and promotes class warfare, I am reminded of the old joke which asks, how do you know when a Republican is lying? Answer: His lips are moving (I’m pretty sure I’ve used this one before in a previous post but it makes me giggle everytime). Although there are numerous ridiculous lies circulating throughout the country driven by the right, the one I want to focus on today is this notion that regulations are stifling business and hindering their ability to hire people. The theme continues that President Obama has imposed so many regulations on businesses that they cannot function. Lies. Damn lies.
First of all, let’s look at what actual business owners said in a recent survey which asked them lots of questions about what is hurting their businesses today. Although these “business-friendly” know-it-alls in Congress say, “regulations are killing small business owner’s ability to expand and hire! Down with Obama!” this doesn’t seem to be the case at all in reality. Okay, not “reality show” reality like the Kim Kardashian marriage fiasco you could time with an egg timer kind of reality, but real reality. Really. When asked to name the two biggest problems their business faces, only 13 percent named government regulations. That’s wayyyy down on the list of problems. The other interesting fact is that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mass layoffs due to government regulations have actually gone DOWN under President Obama’s term.
It has been lack of demand by consumers that has caused most layoffs to occur and our economy to be stagnant. But of course, if you are someone concerned with actual facts, you knew this. If you are a conservative, you just spread the big lie that the nefarious Obama has caused all of this through his massive regulatory and anti-business policies. See how this game works?
In actuality, President Obama’s regulatory record is much less costly than Ronald “the Saint” Reagan’s or George H.W. Bush’s:
Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg. […]
“In the last 12 months through the end of September, the cost range of new regulations is estimated to be $8 billion to $9 billion, a decrease from 2010, according to non-partisan Government Accountability Office reports analyzed by Bloomberg…The record [cost of regulations] came in 1992 under George H.W. Bush when that total hit $20.9 billion in current dollars. In the last year of Ronald Reagan’s term it was $16 billion in today’s dollars.”
But listen, you don’t have to take this lefty’s word for it. Would you be interested to read what Bruce Bartlett, a Republican and former policy advisor for Reagan and H.W. Bush has to say about the lies the Teapublicans spread on the matter? Here it is. I do so love his final paragraph which sums up the Republican agenda really well:
“In my opinion, regulatory uncertainty is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out. In other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, not a serious effort to deal with high unemployment.”
Canard. I love that word. I highlighted that word in Bartlett’s paragraph for a reason. It’s a fancy word for LIE. He’s a righty and an economist yet he understands that these deceptions thrown out like red meat to the base do not help our country get back on the right track. When has a problem ever been solved when you don’t identify the true nature of the problem? As Dr. Phil says, you have to acknowledge the problem in order to fix it. You have to acknowledge the real problem. That is what is so infuriating about these present extremist politicians and their sheep. They constantly lie about the problems we have and why we have them. Yes, I say lie. Not misidentify out of ignorance or bad facts, they bold-face lie. Why do they do that? The reasons are plentiful, but he bottom-line is that Republicans have been, and will always be about, the rich and the corporations. This is so basic. Republicans and corporations go together like peanut butter and jelly, Snookie and a bottle of Patron, or Lindsay Lohan and a jail cell (too soon?). The Republicans are there to protect and serve the Koch brothers, Wal-Mart, and Wall Street, not you and me. The Republicans want business to function without any obstacles in order to rake in more and more profit. Period. But in order to do that, they need help from the right-wing bloviators (FOX NEWS). They need to spread the “canard” loud enough and consistently enough so that it becomes a seeming truth.
Regulations on industry are like electricity. You never think about how great life is with it until you go without it. Anyone who loses power for even a couple of days will weep and wail and writhe in agonizing pain until his power is restored. Yet, do we wake up in the morning and say, “hot diggity! Thank God I have power so I can go through my day utilizing all the niceties that electricity affords me!” ? Of course we don’t. Well, the same is true for so much of what regulations over decades have done to help all of us. We have cleaner air, water and a safer food supply because of them. We have airplanes that get inspected and railways and cars that must meet safety standards. I like that we have seatbelts which has probably saved myself and loved ones from massive injuries over time and through a few crashes. Airbags are a no-brainer. I love that we tell corporations that they can’t dump toxic sludge where I get my drinking water from, because trust me, without regulations on them, we would probably all be glowing in funny colors and projectile vomiting before we died a horribly painful death at way too early an age. Regulations on the financial industry are imposed to prevent what happened in 2008, and it was their deregulation (Glass-Steagall) and lack of regulation (credit-default swaps) which destroyed our economy. What is that you say Mr. Teapublican, corporations and the financial industry have our best interests at heart and wouldn’t do anything unseemly to make their bottom line grow? Surrrrrre —> (sarcasm). The point is, we just take this for granted today. We don’t think about what might have been had these regulations never been imposed, but we most definitely have had our quality of life enhanced because of them, we just don’t think about it consciously. We hear the right scream that this regulation or that rule costs businesses money, but you never hear about how those regulations help all of us save tons of money and our precious health in the long run.
For instance, the Republicans just blocked yet another part of President Obama’s jobs bill when they filibustered the transportation infrastructure program. The “R’s” say that we can’t afford it. Of course, we on the left side of the aisle know they oppose it because it will add way too many millions of jobs to the rolls and we can’t have that, now, can we? Here is the problem with that though. Crumbling and decaying infrastructure hurts our country and each taxpayer immensely. Check out this graphic produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers:
The money that is lost because of bad roads, bridges, and other infrastructure problems is never spoken about by the right. We are falling behind the world in infrastructure spending as part of GDP. This hurts businesses and our economy in the long-run. If we lived our lives using this kind of short-sighted logic why would we ever do something like, I dunno, brush our teeth? Why spend money on toothpaste? We could save lots of money by refusing to buy CREST every few weeks. Sadly, what we eventually find out is that the short-term savings turns into long term pain–both monetarily and physically–as we wind up paying thousands of dollars in dental visit costs, lost wages and the pain of having Dr. Dave rip some veryuseful bicuspids out of our mouths. Not to mention the inevitable lack of human companionship due to the heartbreak of halitosis. Rinse. Spit.
We know that the Republicans in Congress will not rest until this “keep the economy on it’s ass” agenda is completed so that they can get their policies rolling and the Democrat’s policies rolled back. Republicans want no protections for workers and complete protections for business. Republicans want higher taxes on the middle-class and poor (“expand the tax base”…a euphamism for soak the suckers who don’t make jack-squat) and no taxes on the rich and corporations. No minimum wages, no safety nets, no more unemployment insurance extensions, no tax cuts for workers (payroll holiday tax cut). This is how the Teapublicans roll.
The “R’s” are expert liars. We already know that their self-confessed number one priority was to bring President Obama down from the start. It wasn’t to right the economy or get people working or figuring out how to end wars and pestilence. Nope. So these memes that Obama is anti-business and a socialist work well to undermine his presidency. Unfortunately when one looks at facts, those talking points get blown out of the water. The problem is, far too many
dummies people fall for it. Keep chompin’ on that red meat sheeple. Be careful though, if the Republicans get their way and abolish every regulatory agency functioning today like say, the FDA, you may just drop dead from mad-cow disease. Oh well, at least the cattle industry execs will still be living large… just the way the “R’s” like it.
- Senate blocks latest part of Obama jobs bill (firstread.msnbc.msn.com)
- Misrepresentations, Regulations and Jobs (economix.blogs.nytimes.com)