Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

You can't breathe. You cannot breathe.

That's Orange Julius, as quoted by David Cutler and Francesca Dominici, referring to environmental regulations which he claims are "destroying us." And professional thief Scott Pruitt has indeed proposed eliminating a whole lot of them.That's very popular with owners and executives of regulated industries, such as, oh for example the Koch brothers, who are known to make campaign contributions, and others who pay bribes directly to Mr. Pruitt.

Anyway, Cutler and Dominici run down some of the ways America will be Great Again once this all happens. For example, repeal of the Clean Power Plan will result  in particle emissions that will cause an estimated 36,000 deaths in a decade and make 630,000 children sick with respiratory ailments. That's a small price to pay, obviously, for hastening global climate change and making Alaska nice and warm.

Then there is repeal of automobile fuel efficiency standards, which will kill 5,500 people and make 140,000 children sick in a decade -- but with the same wonderful benefit. Then there's the rule allowing rebuilt trucks that don't meet emissions standards on the road, which will kill 41,000 people and make almost a million people sick. Our children will also get to enjoy exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which have been linked to neurodevelopmental problems including lowered IQ, and carcinogens. Among other renewals of American greatness.

But of course this is going to bring back all of those wonderful high-paying blue collar jobs, right? As C and D tell us:

One could debate the merits of these tradeoffs if there were a large number of people who would benefit economically from these changes. In practice, however, any economic benefits are not likely to accrue to those most in need. Employment is down in many fossil fuel industries because technology has made workers less necessary for production, not because of environmental regulations. And even if a large number of coal jobs were restored, it would come at the expense of employment in new industries such as wind and solar, which are already being hurt by the Trump administration policies. Not having to comply with environmental rules will increase corporate profits, but not worker bank accounts.
Well of course. 


Anonymous said...

I understand your point with these few examples.

However, many have a problem with rules and regulations that have the full weight of law that did not go through the democratic process. Where unelected bureaucrats can pass these regulations without congress and those affected have very little recourse.

Another issue is the sheer number of rules promulgated by federal regulatory agencies. In 2015, the Obama administration hit a record 3,378 rules finalized amounting to 81,611 pages in the federal registry...and that's just in one year.

It's really difficult to believe that we need that many new rules coming out of Washington each year and that they're all absolutely necessary.

If you believe that we need all of these regulations at the federal level, my response is that they're trying to regulate way too much and should leave much of the more mundane decisions to the states.

Cervantes said...

That's not how it works. Congress passes legislation that lays out broad principles and delegates the precise rulemaking process to executive agencies. Executive agencies can't make regulations without legislative authorization. The number of rules is not an issue - of course there are going to be more over time as society and technology get more complicated. I don't know if all regulations are absolutely necessary but the ones discussed here certainly are, for the reasons presented in the post.

If there is some other regulation you don't like tell us what it is. But otherwise, your response is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

The way the process works is the agency itself or some special interest organization typically cites the need for a new regulation. The agency proposes the new regulation and cites its authority, usually an old poorly written and ambiguous law passed in the 70's giving it very, very broad powers. Then there's a period for public input which means jack squat to them. Next they decide when the new regulation will be effective...and it's the law of the land at that point.

Unless both the Senate and House pass a resolution of dissapproval within 60 days (and there's no presidential veto), it's pretty well finalized. I think this might have happened once. Meanwhile, they'r pumping out 3,300 new laws a year that few in the legislature have any clue about.

Who here believes the Senate and House reviews 3,300 new regulations each year? Yeah, they pretty much rule autonomously.

You may like the system the way it is or you may not but don't think congress has tight control of the EPA, DOE and the others 'cuz they don't.

The system is not very democratic.

mojrim said...

Why is "democratic" an inherent virtue in this regard beyond congressional authorization? On what planet would you expect 535 random people with no expertise to review 3300 regulatory actions each year? What difference would it make if each state dealt out 3300 rules instead?