Civic Soapbox
8:12 am
Fri September 30, 2011

Government Regulation Is Necessary

Afton, VA – Government Regulation

Congress has recently returned to Washington and the absurdity begins anew. Last year billionaire hedge fund managers magically morphed into job creators and it seems for this session the new whipping boy is the EPA and government regulation in general. It's true, as any of us in business can attest, there are regulations we find burdensome and unnecessary, and anyone who wants to can find ones that sound silly. Nonetheless, the double speak coming out of Congress has reached new heights.

Has it been so far in the past that Congressional leaders think we have forgotten the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 13 oil rig workers and spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the gulf? No doubt that was caused by excessive government oversight. Or maybe the disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine where 29 coal miners died. Surely that was the fault of too much government interference. And let's not forget the mother of all disasters, the financial collapse of 2008. If we had only left the banks alone nothing would have gone wrong. Except that all these are examples of where government regulations and oversight were lax and disaster resulted.

Corporations are responsible for increasing shareholder value by making profits. It's the government's responsibility to police the process and protect all of us from the shortcuts business will take to earn those profits. The EPA, FDA, OSHA and many other government agencies are responsible for developing rules, and they generally do a fine job. This has made them the target of the businesses they oversee and those businesses are now flexing their political muscle in an attempt to emasculate the oversight that agencies can exert.

The EPA is a perfect example of the political football government regulations have become. Founded during the presidency of that leftist radical, Richard Nixon, the EPA has done excellent work helping to clean up the mess made by various industries. How old do you have to be to remember the Cuyahoga River in Ohio catching fire? Maybe you remember the talk of acid rain from old coal power plants destroying the forest in the Shenandoah National Park. How about the destruction of the ozone layer by chlorofluorocarbons?

The Environmental Protection Agency is an easy target in these difficult times, but they are hardly to blame for job losses. Government regulations are the only thing standing between the general public and the potential for tainted food, dirty air and water, and a myriad of other problems that we don't see because there are real public servants working to keep us safe. We only read about the failures and the problems, never the successes, but make no mistake, we would have an infinitely dirtier environment and a host of other problems without agencies like the EPA and we will always need strong government oversight of industry and business.

I'm Larry Stopper, an entrepreneur out there every day in the trenches making a living and I respect and appreciate the work these agencies do.

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