"Regulation is always bad for business."

How do I know this? Why the think tanks who are supported by Business tell me that. The CEOs and PR firms who work for the businesses tell me that. The conservative talk radio hosts who work for advertiser dollars tell me that.

Who comes out and says that regulation is GOOD for business? Who comes out and says that we NEED government to keep an eye on things? Hardly anyone. And when they do, they are ATTACKED. Who attacks them? The think tanks, the talk radio hosts, the people who make money in an unregulated environment.

The corporations will ALWAYS push for what they can get, it is their nature. Someone should push back. Because when there is no one to push back they will win. Who is on our side? Who pays when the whole thing falls apart? We do.

Think-tankers are WRONG about the need for regulation and they know it, but that doesn’t stop them from pushing. Suggesting that regulation is a good for business usually brings up a knee jerk reaction in conservatives. "Ack! Regulation is always bad for business! Deregulation is better. If deregulation fails it is because it wasn’t done right." Or, to paraphrase Digby on conservatism, "Deregulation can never fail, it can only be failed."

We can rub conservative’s noses in the failures — but that isn’t very satisfying because they always have an excuse for why they failed. Why bother suggesting it?

Because, like a child who is testing the limits, conservatives need someone to push back and I’ll bet they are secretly happy when they lose a regulation battle, because the smart ones understand that they really need regulation, though they still cry just to save face. Recently the airline execs sent out a letter pleading with people to help them get stronger regulation (pdf link). Of course they want regulation on the OTHER guy, those dirty oil speculators, but it shows that smart businesses understand about the critical need for regulatory limits in some areas.

Regulation. Good for Business. Good for Americans.

It always behooves the people who don’t want regulation to tell stories of too much regulation. Are there sometimes cases of too much regulation? Yes.

Are there many, many more cases of too little or NO regulation? YES. 1000 times yes.

I saw first-hand the consequences of little or no regulation during the tainted pet food crisis last year. Did you know that thousands of pets died? The FDA kept reporting the official number "at least 16 deaths" because they didn’t have the resources to confirm the thousands of dead.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the recalled pet food? Because there was no regulation on disposal of the tainted food, some was fed to 20 million chickens and 56,000 hogs. Gee, I wonder if the same stuff that killed and sickened thousands of puppies and kitties might make chickens and hogs sick? What would happen to us if we ate them? Don’t worry, the FDA and USDA did a "risk analysis" that declared the chickens and hogs safe, but I was always curious why they wouldn’t release the name of the company that processed them. Could Big Chicken and Big Pig have put pressure on the FDA and the USDA to get a quick safety ruling to ensure they wouldn’t have to cull their chickens and hogs? Did they request (demand?) that their names never be mentioned to the media? We’ll never know, especially in a world where the industries being "regulated" really rule the roost.

Should we promote these cases of too little regulation or regulation abuse, make the people go to jail, and extract our money back from these people so that this won’t easily happen again? Yes.

Dear Enron: I want my money back, you lying jerks. — Signed California

I’m sick of being told how terrible regulation is when I can point to major crisis after crisis that could have been nipped in the bud with regulation or enforcement of existing laws.

Regulation. Good for Business. Good for Americans.

If you disagree with the importance of regulation let me ask you who you work for and who funds you. Has your industry benefited from regulation? Have you ever benefited from regulation? Before you answer no, consider the car you sit in, the chemicals in your home, the food you eat, the hard hat you wear, the water you drink and the air you breathe. I’ll bet 200 quatloos that you have benefited from regulation.

Yet businesses and neocons still fight regulation. Hot-shot CEOs don’t want to follow government rules, only Wall Street’s. They know they can buy off the government. Yet they want the other guy to follow the government rules. I can’t tell you how many CEOs I’ve met who say, "All I want is an unfair advantage." If they looked at the big picture they would realize that regulation is GOOD for them, their industry and the country.

The U.S. benefits when we have regulation, but of course the U.S. isn’t who corporations want to help. And if there are no consequences for bad behavior, they will keep doing it again and again. We’ve lost the stick on the side of regulations and the law and they still get carrots for bad behavior.

"I fail and I’ll take all of you with me! Ya shoulda stopped me sooner, I’m too important to fail now!" –Current logic used to obtain corporate bailouts

Businesses won’t fund studies about how GREAT regulation is for everyone and how the desire to destroy and circumvent regulation is bad for business, bad for America and bad for the economy. But if anyone does such a study, look for the findings to be destroyed by the knee-jerk, right-wing think-tankers and conservative media machine.

The current banking crisis is the latest example of the need for oversight that oversees, regulation that regulates, government that governs. Now we need consequences and regulations put back into place with funding, enforcement and teeth. Why? Because as I’ve said:

Regulation. Good for Business. Good for Americans.



A brain in a box.