Conservative columnist David Brooks manages to write a column that has more facts than spin or lies – The Wonky Liberal
Republicans have many strong arguments to make against the Obama administration, but one major criticism doesn’t square with the evidence. This is the charge that President Obama is running a virulently antibusiness administration that spews out a steady flow of job- and economy-crushing regulations.
In the first place, President Obama has certainly not shut corporate-types out of the regulatory process. According to data collected by the Center for Progressive Reforms, 62 percent of the people who met with the White House office in charge of reviewing regulations were representatives of industry, while only 16 percent represented activist groups. At these meetings, business representatives outnumbered activists by more than 4 to 1.
Nor is it true that the administration is blindly doing the bidding of the liberal activist groups. On the contrary, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and its administrator, Cass Sunstein, have been the subject of withering attacks from the left. The organization Think Progress says the office is “appalling.” Mother Jones magazine is on the warpath. The Huffington Post published a long article studded with negative comments from unions and environmental activists.
The general trend of conservatism, Brooks just dealing with the one example to day, is to be the movement of Chicken-Littleism. Obama has on every measure been less the regulator than either Bush 43 or Reagan. If conservatives are unhappy with their field of presidential candidates, looking for another Reagan, if they are sincere, they’re looking for more regulation. President Obama has been what the Beltway would describe as remarkably centrist. In the real world at real dinner tables Obama seems, especially after his first 18 months in office to have become a Republican-lite president. One of the reports that Brooks cites is this scathing report from the liberal Progressive Reform, the title alone says a lot, Behind Closed Doors at
the White House: How Politics Trumps Protection of Public Health, Worker Safety, and the Environment(pdf).
There was also this recent article from Bloomberg – Obama Wrote 5% Fewer Rules Than Bush While Costing Business.
The number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms. In part that’s because $100 million in past years was worth more than it is now due to inflation, Livermore said.
The same people who believe Obama is on some kind of regulatory rampage are the same people who think Iraq had WMD, the earth is only a couple thousand years old and the Muppets are part of a gay conspiracy.
Even though the Bloomberg article shows the public the truth about the size, scope and cost of regulation. It does so on Conservative terms used to define the argument. It is the kind of thinly veiled conservatism that has creeped into MSM journalism over the past fifty years. Where is the report that asks how much it costs the nation for lack of regulation or lack of enforcement. 29 miners dies due to Massey Energy taking safety shortcuts. How much did that lose of life cost the families and the country. Air pollution from cement plants alone contribute to 2,500 premature deaths per year. So when conservatives and “centrist” Democrats talk about curbing regulation because of costs, often times they are talking about a few dollars less in profits for corporations and shifting financial burden and death to individual Americans. Even conservative god Milton Friedman stipulated that corporations had some moral obligations not to cause harm to people. Like so much of conservative orthodoxy, which some Democrats have bought into, is that conservatives value life. They only value life in the abstract – as long as that life is a few cells. If you’re a real human being trying your best to play by the rules, work hard, have a family….well then too bad if a corporation disabled you, kills you, or lobbies to weaken laws that protect your family. This is the choice they have shoved down America’s throat for years – you’re either “pro-business” and all the disastrous and even deadly code language that stands for or you are a raving commie anti-Christ. If the best business model someone can come up with regularly kills or severely injures people maybe they lack the basic skills to be in business.
Democrats would like to offset the cost of extending the payroll tax cuts with a microscopically tiny surcharge on millionaires. Conservatives, as though there was anything actually conservative about their POV, would rather increase taxes on working class Americans – How to Avoid Being a Principled Republican on Taxes
Democrats want to pay for this with a temporary – not permanent – surtax on any earnings over $1 million, according to their most recent proposal. The surtax would be 1.9 percent, for ten years. (Democrats would also increase the fees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders.)
This means someone who earns $1,000,001 would pay just under two cents extra next year, and 19 cents over ten years.
So Democrats, the mad re-distributors of income they are, would charge millionaires less than they pay a year on golf tees. Conservatives have drawn a line in the sand over this obviously evil plot. Personally I would much rather deal with convincing an actual socialist of the benefits of free markets than try to convince a conservative to act like a decent human being.
Under Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker(R) , Wisconsin is No. 1 job loser – Walker ran as a tea bagger conservative who would create jobs. Even though conservatives say government cannot create jobs. Walker did give corporations in Wisconsin yet another big tax break. Supposedly a big middle finger to those tax raisers in Illinois, so that Illinois companies would stampede over to those great tax rates. Didn’t happen. Just more tax cut fairy dust. If nothing else, if you’re a Illinois businessman/woman, with kids, why would you bring your kids to a state that has gutted public education.
In the same week that saw the former Speaker of the House become the most serious challenger to Mitt Romney, the Republican very few Republicans seem to like, Gingrich showed his true colors. As part of the ongoing GOP rant against organized labor, he stepped up with a proposal to fire school janitors and replace them with child laborers. Blaming “the core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization” for “crippling” children, Gingrich told a Harvard audience, “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, in child laws, which are truly stupid.” Gingrich did not misspeak. He was serious in suggesting that “most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school.”
Even in a party where shamelessness is now considered a virtue, it’s unsettling that a man who collected $30,000 a month for an hour of counsel to Freddie Mac administrators would attack school janitors, who according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics earn a mean wage of $13.74 an hour, or $28,570 a year. In response to Gingrich, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said, “The people you want to fire and replace with kids? A lot of them are parents. That job puts a roof over kids’ heads, food on the table, and provides them with healthcare and the chance to get an education. That job is the only thing between a kid and poverty.” But Gingrich has never been bothered by the human costs of right-wing social experimentation.
I went ahead and used the Nation’s header for the story even though it is counter productive. Normal people read those paragraphs and cringe at the vacuum of anything resembling integrity, humanity or patriotism. Conservatives read stuff like that and wet themselves with joy. Newt is nasty gets check mark on the conservative wish list of qualities they are looking for in a president.
States rights is one among many farcical stands conservatives have taken over the years, little events like the Civil War don’t mean a thing. They didn’t learn anything from 2000 to 2008, so no reason to learn anything from 1861. Leading GOP Candidates Don’t Want to Return Power to the States
Gingrich’s* answer ought to chill “Tenthers” in the unseen audience. “The Tenth Amendment actually talks about the states and the citizens,” Gingrich said (check the text, he’s got the wording about right). Thus, the implication is, the federal government can reach over the head of the states and empower boards in cities and towns—presumably made up of appointees by President Gingrich, not Governor Whoever—to carry out important federal programs. I’m about as nationalist as they come, but even I never considered the Tenth Amendment as a source of federal power before.
Rick Santorum, also a Washington creature, want the federal government to exercise pastoral authority over our safety and our sex and family lives. Asked by Bondi whether any part of the Patriot Act was unconstitutional, he said, “no.” When asked whether states or the federal government should be defending marriage and the family, he said, “the president can lead a revitalization of marriage.” Asked whether regulation of abortion might be best left to the states, he said, “I support a constitutional amendment”—which would, of course, federalize the issue;
[ ]…Ron Paul fended off Pruitt, who, as the attorney general of the state where the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, asked for an alternative to the PATRIOT Act. “There’s nothing in our Constitution that says violent acts should be a prerogative of our Constitution.” P Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security were all unconstitutional, but should be phased out slowly. (This riled Cuccinelli: “Why would you sign a budget that contains something unconstitutional?” Paul answered, in effect, be patient, sonny.) Asked whether he opposed any amendments to the Constitution, he wisely cited the Eighteenth, already repealed.
*Gingrich was asked how he would police illegal immigrants.
Ron Paul, who at least on the internet, has this reputation as being a guru of the Constitution. Wouldn’t a guru know which amendments have been repealed. The 18th is commonly referred to as “Prohibition”. Those who think OWS has been rowdy, wait for the senior citizen riots when President Paul decides to declare Medicare and Social Security unconstitutional.