Last night, seven of the Republican 2012 presidential hopefuls participated in a debate in New Hampshire, and as the Wall Street Journal noted, the candidates used the occasion to “[press] for the dismantling of government regulations drawn up over 40 years.” Indeed, the candidates unveiled a deregulatory zeal, proposing to repeal everything from environmental and labor protections to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and regulations included in the Affordable Care Act. Here are some highlights:
NEWT GINGRICH: The Congress this year, this week, ought to repeal the Dodd-Frank bill, they ought to repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley bill.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): What we need to do is pass the mother of all repeal bills…and I would begin with the EPA, because there is no other agency like the EPA. It should really be called the job-killing organization of America.
RICK SANTORUM: This president has put a stop sign against oil drilling, against any kind of exploration offshore or in Alaska and that is depressing. We need to drill.
GINGRICH: And one of the things Congress should do immediately is defund the National Labor Relations Board.
HERMAN CAIN: If the federal government continues to do the kind of things that this administration is trying to do through the backdoor, through the National Labor Relations Board, that’s killing our free-market system.
Watch a compilation:
Despite a financial crisis caused in large part by deregulation, climate change wreaking havoc on the country, and plummeting unionization coupled with plummeting incomes, the GOP still seems to believe that the government has no role in setting rules of the road or enforcing any sort of standard to guard against corporate greed or environmental devastation. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) even seemed to imply that the government should privatize disaster relief, responding to a question about FEMA by saying, “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
But not every statement uttered by the candidates was anti-regulation. Cain replied to a question about whether the government has a role in food safety by saying, “The federal government should be doing food safety, yes.”