Henhouse open, foxes welcome

The new Congress is now in session, and any hopes for meaningful reform or deficit fighting are quickly evaporating. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., recently sent a letter to a host of businesses – oil companies, drug makers, industry trade groups – asking them what regulations they’d like to see eliminated. (You can see a copy of one of the letters here.)

Issa is looking for assignments in his new job as head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His approach is a little like teachers asking school children how much homework they’d like to have.

Public Citizen responded to Issa’s letter with one of its own, noting that the purpose of regulation is to protect the public health and safety, rather than coddle corporations.

Ironically, Issa’s pandering comes as the presidential spill commission prepares to issue its final report on the Deepwater Horizon accident. Among its findings: that lax government regulation contributed to the disaster that killed 11 people.

What Issa is proposing isn’t reform at all. It’s more of the same.

Here’s Public Citizen’s full letter:

Issa-Letter-20110105

Photo: Neil McIntosh/Flickr

21 Comments

  1. Catclaw

    Is this guys already on “Big Earl’s” payroll or does he really believe that business profits are the only thing in the world that matters?

    #1
  2. SaltWaterCroc

    Taking us back to the days of unregulated greed. And the Republicans have already broken several of their pledges – Boehner says the “$100 billion deficit reduction the first year” pledge was “hypothetical”, the Open Amendment process they pledged to have is now closed, and the pledge to make committee attendance public has been taken off the table. The only people the GOP cares about are big business and the wealthy; the ignorant will always vote for them because they stand against “illegal Nigerian communist socialist presidents”.

    #2
  3. Good letter. Hope to see Darrell Issa’s letter published in response to this one being published. This is an accusation letter now what is the response to the accusation?

    #3
  4. Ruth

    Try looking at it differently. Maybe his purpose is to identify what a company “would like” to see. Then, maybe congress can regulate to real world situations and conditions that actual fulfill the purpose of regulations, as well as “helping them stay honest”.

    That is, protect and benefit the public yet allow the private sector to provide a needed service in a safe manner, with a reasonable profit margin. I don’t quite understand how “rules” can be created and enforced without some knowledge of an industry from both perspectives, as well as an overall impact of any “rule”.

    I know that morality cannot be legislated, but I’m wondering if more emphasis and education on ethical behavior while making a profit might help. But then, there would probably have to be strong punishment for unethical as well as illegal actions, and only when caught–so that’s a dumb idea, huh.

    #4
  5. Zack

    Awesome.

    Those republicans sure don’t waste anytime trying to figure out how to give more taxpayer money and govt benifits to rich people and large corporations.

    Next thing you know they will try to take health care beniftis from millions of americans while increasing the deficit to do so.

    And increase the deficit with more tax cuts to the rich.

    And in turn cut funding for social programs, which are so insignificant to the budget, the cuts don’t do anything to tamper down the deficit.

    The best thing to ever happen to Obama’s re-election chances are putting the republicans in charge of the house for 2 years. This should be fun.

    #5
  6. Phil

    Your column is loaded with the usual anti-business garbage. These regulations and taxes are nothing more than costs which lower everyone’s standard of living through reduced production and higher unemployment. Government stifles innovation which is driven by free markets and competition.

    The Democrats have exploded the deficit and doubled unemployment. It was their policy of pushing “affordable housing” to the “under-served” that created the sub-prime mortgage mess.

    There is some much nonsense in your article and most of the responses, the only real “market error” is that you get paid for this stuff.

    #6
  7. Tex

    It’s great that we still have a few politicians with enough common sense to ask how they can improve the business climate. I realize this is beyond Steffy’s comprehension.

    To Mr. or Mrs. Zack: Awesome – The word is much overused. Awesome arose in 1598 England (Early Modern English)… added the word Awe + Some… meaning something that inspires awe. Hope you looked at Steffy’s article with awe.

    #7
  8. OllieOil

    I agree with Public Citizen, we should buy all of our goods from China since there is no way we could possibly regulate and tax our industries sufficiently.

    #8
  9. Contrary Dave

    We would be a lot better off with less regulations and more enforcement. Of course, enforcement costs money and regulations just require a bit of paper, so congress’ answer to events resulting from a lack of enforcement is more regulations. Enron immediately comes to mind as does BP.

    In the sixties, MD EPA approach was to come in, say what needed to be done, give you a date and come back on that date. Problem not fixed – shut down plant. Now that is what I call enforcement. Granted it was not a giant refinery, but you get more punishment for messing with dogs than messing with people’s lives.

    #9
  10. Mike

    I am all in favor of government being pro-business, but I strongly dislike Issa’s tone and approach. Regulations on so-called “effluents” are important to public health and correcting economic externalities. However, the government, being made up of humans (and ones that don’t need to make a profit at that), often makes mistakes in its regulations. I would like to see a more constructive approach where the government asks corporations to show how they were wronged by regulations so they can be corrected. This, however, is just an opportunity for businesses to unfairly dictate what the regulations should be.

    #10
  11. Peter

    Issa’s letter asked them which regulations could be modified or removed in order to spur job growth in those industries. Of course the crazy left views that as him asking how they can pollute more and increase the pay for CEO’s. The crazy left is engaging in what they consider an epic battle against U.S. business. They could care less that it’s the businesses that might be able to make suggestions as to regulations that only cost money (jobs) and accomplish nothing, but they don’t care. Corporations are the enemy, and propaganda is another weapon. My only guess is that they believe that all jobs should be government jobs. I wish they would practice their ignorant theories in places like Haiti. They should tell the government there just to hire everyone so that employment is 100%. Then, when they realize that without business there is no revenue and no way to pay all of these government employees, they might realize that is business that supports the government, the economy and every family in the U.S.

    #11
  12. Zack

    Tex…thanks for the history lesson on the origin of the word awesome. That was really nice of you, not patronizing at all….quite simply it was awesome!!

    But seriously, having politians ask business what regulations they would like eliminated is beyond the pale. And please Tex I would appreciate you climbing up on your high horse to explain to me the origin of the phrase beyond the pale.

    #12
  13. Zack

    More great wingnut thoughts…this time from Peter.

    No, liberals don’t want all jobs to be from the government.

    And yes, asking companies which regulations they prefer to have eliminated is ridiculous. The part about “spurring job growth” is meaningless in this sense. You think businesses will think to themselves “I really hate regulation X, but I’m not sure that eliminating it would cause me to hire more people, so I won’t suggest it”. You are accepting a naive point of view in order to justify decreasing regulations because you are anti-government.

    And no, the deficit is not a problem brought on by the left or the right, alone. You tea partiers that think that are sticking your head in the sand. And the deficit has nothing to do with pro or anti-business policiy. Texas, a very pro-business state they say, has a huge budget deficit!!! It must be the fault of the minority democrat party!!!

    #13
  14. Mike

    Steffy, You have just proved you’re nothing more than a democrat shill. If you were going to enact legislation that impacted a particular industry, who would you ask for advice? The experts or moveon.org?

    #14
  15. Jethro David Hightower

    Funny how the oil industry and all the industrial polluters used to say we could not afford pollution controls because it would cost jobs and corporate profits. Some things never change. The free market extremists decry all government regulations. Even market meltdowns, the ever-widening class income gaps andnasty oil spills in the Gulf make no impact. They believe that the rich have the right to get richer and to hell with everyone else. Somewhere between Darrell Issa and Karl Marx is a reasonable approach that balances competing interests. Allowing markets and industries and corporations to simply do what they will might be good Republican rhetoric, but it will doom the country to second-tier status within a couple of generations. Countries that don’t pursue the common good or promote a wider middle class will suffer down the road. It’s sad to see Republicans shake free of their historically held values and embrace only the corporate aristocracy.

    #15
  16. Tex

    Zack,

    I assume you are referring to the Darrel Issa (R) letter to the industry when you are using the statement “beyond the pale”. I respectfully disagree with you. His letter was certainly proper. I did not find it objectionable and I was not overcome with awe, however.

    #16
  17. justrational

    Issa is a traitor in the literal sense of hates the US government. He would like to see the US become as corrupt as China and Russia–ironically, both examples of Capitalism run amok. They both took the worst from us, without the democracy and human rights that is the best of us.

    We citizens need to be protected from businessmen in blackout limos who live in gated communities. I fear our future is a gradual descent thanks to corrupt business taking over everything. That is what happened for 8 years under Bush, and almost destroyed the country. Here’s the series we would face: first we become like Brazil, then we become like Mexico, then we become like Russia, then we end up like China.

    Here’s the great irony. Those Republicans were anti-Communist for so long, yet thanks to them we risk ending up like Russia and China: a small group of multi-millionaires (1% of the population) and a herd of uneducated and underpaid workers with no rights (since dismantling Unions has always been at the top of the Republican agenda).

    If you want to be embarrassed by Texas’ contribution, look no further than Ralph Hall, who is the new head of the science committee. He’s ignorant, a denier of good science, and will happily cut science budgets that Houston depends on for the Medical Center and NASA.

    Hillbillies just can’t learn from their mistakes. Anyone who reads and thinks has known since the Great Depression that Capitalism can only work with good regulations, over banks and all other corporations. Do you want safe cars? Do you want safe water to drink? How about safe food? Then you need regulators, and agencies with enough training and budget to do all the inspections.

    #17
  18. HenryFaley

    The Democrats have exploded the deficit and doubled unemployment. It was their policy of pushing “affordable housing” to the “under-served” that created the sub-prime mortgage mess.

    ************************************************************************

    If you want to understand the real reasons for the mess, please research Phil Gramm. Once the banking industry was set free to package make billions by packaging and selling the mortgages, it became advantageous to sell as many mortgages as possible.

    Look at the foreclosures in your area, how many of them are in “affordable” housing?

    #18
  19. Joe

    This is great news. With the feds digging deep into this, they realized once again that this country, as well as the world economy, is based on oil and cannot survive without the money they tax on it, regardless of what libs like Zack and Croc think about it, as they use up those very resources to post their drivel. If you libs live in Texas, you benefit from it. It amazes me how they can rag on the very business that made this country great, and especially Texas. Why do you think everyone is moving here, again? For the mild summers? And why, Zack, do you care if rich people get tax breaks? All it does is give you a better chance of getting the jobs they create. But then, I doubt if you work at all.

    #19
  20. Mark

    @justrational – thankfully we Hillbillies can always look to you to know what is best, eh?

    #20
  21. Zack

    joe…

    You doubt if I work at all? Because I lean liberal on my politics? Your over-generalization (one that hinges on incorrect sterotyping liberals for welfare recipients) makes you look like a bigot.

    Yes, I’m employed. I have a PhD and work as a research scientist for one of the major oil companies.

    And I disagree strongly that giving the super rich more tax breaks creates jobs in any meaningful way for our society.

    #21