August 18, 2011

The Dirty “R” Word. ~Jeff Meyer

(Thank you Security Systems News for the picture)

Earmuffs kids: Regulation.

Just to clear the air, I am what one might call a liberal, leaning pretty far to the left.  Most would assume I want as much regulation as possible.  I’d also like to think I am realistic about the challenges that American business and  energy production face.  So hear me out.

So that is why I am broaching the subject of regulation and will on many more occasions but here is the start and an argument for regulation on this day.  It will involve looking at two industries and why we are in need of regulation.

As I watch the stock market take tumbles, I hear the analysts say, this is really a financial crisis that is spreading to the whole economy.  So why is there a financial crisis in the first place?  Well, a great film to watch would be “Too  Big to Fail“, which is a great primer and explanation into the fall of Lehman, and now the current financial situation we find our nation in.

Where does regulation fit into all this you ask?  Well here it is.  We used to have a pretty good system going with mortgages.  That is to say, lenders would lend the right amount to the right people with standards stringent enough to let the people who deserve a home, have a home.  After all home ownership is the American Dream.  Then, the mortgage companies got greedy.  They started packaging  these mortgages into bundles, and selling slices of those bundles for huge profits.  Well, then the greed took over and they started scraping the bottom of the barrel,  looking for more people to lend  to, in order to have more mortgages to bundle.  Thus, we have this vicious stream of foreclosures ruining credit, and families.

The other industry is oil.  We have people crying out that we need to partially lift the moratorium on drilling in order to ease the dependence on foreign  oil.  While we must care for the environment, we can’t possibly cripple the entire economy because solar (wind, thermal, etc.) aren’t walking through that door to solve the energy crisis.  So I fully understand the pragmatic logic of exploring oil wells in the United States.  What I fear is another BP oil spill because we saw a lack of enforced regulation lead to one of the most devastating environmental disasters.  So we may need to change the regulation to make it enforceable but the oil companies knew the regulations and still willfully chose to ignore them.

Here is my analogy.  If your parents leave you alone with the house for the weekend and you throw a party, trashing everything and not caring about who you are affecting you will have a babysitter the next time your parents leave because they can’t trust you.  So if you don’t want a babysitter, don’t give your parents a reason to hire one.

This goes for business.  Over and over and in a million different ways some businesses have proven that they need babysitters.   I feel like most Republicans think Democrats get off on regulating business to the point of stopping potential growth (and profits).  I at least would like to regulate as little as possible, so don’t give a reason.

Note: I only covered two industry for the sake of expediency in proving my point.  I know there are too many examples of illegal dumping, stomping on the average citizen while willfully ignoring the rules put in place to protect against it.  So I would be more than happy to discuss all this in the comments section.

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