Obama: The benefits of health, safety and environment regulations “exceed their costs by billions of dollars.”

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"Obama: The benefits of health, safety and environment regulations “exceed their costs by billions of dollars.”"

President Obama ‘reaches out’ to the business community with a Wall Street Journal op-ed “Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System.”  He describes a new Executive Order that initiates “a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.”

Couldn’t hurt — but it’s very unlikely to find much after 8 years of the uber-antiregulation Cheney-Bush administration.  And Obama’s generally strong defense of regulations — particularly the EPA — is not what the anti-science, pro-pollution readership of the WSJ opinion page wants to hear.  Here are some excerpts:

For two centuries, America’s free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known. That vibrant entrepreneurialism is the key to our continued global leadership and the success of our people.

But throughout our history, one of the reasons the free market has worked is that we have sought the proper balance. We have preserved freedom of commerce while applying those rules and regulations necessary to protect the public against threats to our health and safety and to safeguard people and businesses from abuse.

From child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to our most recent strictures against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, we have, from time to time, embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy….

One important example of this overall approach is the fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. When I took office, the country faced years of litigation and confusion because of conflicting rules set by Congress, federal regulators and states.

The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of rules into one aggressive new standard. It was a victory for car companies that wanted regulatory certainty; for consumers who will pay less at the pump; for our security, as we save 1.8 billion barrels of oil; and for the environment as we reduce pollution. Another example: Tomorrow the FDA will lay out a new effort to improve the process for approving medical devices, to keep patients safer while getting innovative and life-saving products to market faster.

Despite a lot of heated rhetoric, our efforts over the past two years to modernize our regulations have led to smarter””and in some cases tougher””rules to protect our health, safety and environment. Yet according to current estimates of their economic impact, the benefits of these regulations exceed their costs by billions of dollars.

Exactly:

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5 Responses to Obama: The benefits of health, safety and environment regulations “exceed their costs by billions of dollars.”

  1. Theodore says:

    Those who advocate free enterprise alone as the only economic model are like the old dog who knows only one trick and can’t learn another. To them, it is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. Thick rolls of money insulate them from the need to consider any other point of view. When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    In a rational world, economic engineers would create new human systems with the freedom now enjoyed by mechanical engineers, unfettered by political constraints.

  2. Leif says:

    The public has time and again bailed out Wall Street, Bankers, Corporations, Real-estate, and more and continues to this day. Currently all of the above control the vast % of wealth in the world. “Big Money” has become “too big to fail.” Yet those same entities not only refuse to address Climatic Disruption with meaningful efforts, they actively disseminate deceiving rhetoric preventing meaningful efforts in favor of their bottom line. It is past time for Capitalism to step up to the plate and finance the “New Awakening Green Economy” and MAKE it work for ALL HUMANITY. The alternative is bankruptcy for ALL! In fact, the evidence points to even worse than that…

    There is nothing one can do to prevent the suicide of a determined person. If “BIG MONEY” fails to acknowledge culpability, I fear the worst…

  3. Wit's End says:

    “For two centuries, America’s free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known.”

    Nah. It wasn’t the free market – it was cheap, abundant energy.

    about growth, from this website: http://peakchoice.org/intro.html

    “President George W. Bush once said during a “State of the Union” speech that “America is addicted to oil.” This mantra was echoed by many opponents of his administration, but the fact that Bush said it is a clue that it is not really true. We are not “addicted” to oil, since an addiction is something that can be kicked. Instead, our society is completely dependent on concentrated fossil fuels for industrial agriculture, long distance transportation, and our growth based monetary system.

    Net energy is the concept that you need to invest energy in to get energy out. Some of the earliest oil fields had a 100 to 1 ratio — we got 100 times more energy out than it took to extract, process and distribute the oil.

    As oil production increased, the rate of return decreased as the easiest to get oil was used up — the “low hanging fruit” analogy. Now, oil fields take far more energy to extract what Michael Klare calls “tough oil.” Offshore drilling, oil fields in remote locations, polar regions, tar sands — these take far more energy to obtain than the early riches of the oil era.

    When North America began to be logged, the first forests to be cut down were those near the oceans and riverbanks. The big trees on steep slopes did not get clearcut until the easier to extract logs had already been taken. Now, the lumber industry is going after smaller trees on the steepest slopes, or focused on second and third growth forests. This analogy is crude, pun not intended, since forests grow back far faster than oil fields are created through geological processes.

    Renewable sources have the advantage of lasting as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, but they are less concentrated than fossil fuels. I’ve used solar panels for two decades and have concluded that a renewable energy economy would be based on steady state principles, not a growth based system…

    …excerpt from Kennedy’s United Nations speech:

    “Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment, to end thirst and hunger, to conquer poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world–or to make it the last.”

    Mark Robinowitz
    PeakChoice.org”

  4. sons says:

    The problem is most americans will never learn of the positive benefits Obama has outlined.

    In America we are under a propaganda regime made up of Fox News, Limbaugh, Savage and other right wing media propagandists. These propagandists have captured the “news” business and redefined it in America.

    Congress responds to commands of people like Limbaugh because he has a kind of mental control over enough voters to make Congressmen and Senators dance to the tune he calls.

    Almost all our major problems – election of the deregulation administration of Bush/Cheney, the attack on Iraq, tax lowering for the rich throwing the US budget into chaos – all this stems back to the big, successful right wing propaganda media.

    Defeat that media or it will defeat the core values of this nation – the United States of America.

  5. Wow.

    “For two centuries, America’s free market has not only been the source of dazzling ideas and path-breaking products, it has also been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known. That vibrant entrepreneurialism is the key to our continued global leadership and the success of our people.”

    Ironically, the Obama Health Care plan (remember that?) was called the PUBLIC OPTION, and was designed to spur ACTUAL COMPETITION in the Health Insurance industry. It’s competition that drives American Innovative thought, not just an absence of rules.