Donald Trump campaigned heavily on the promise to cut federal regulations. He spoke of eliminating two regulations for any new regulation added. Recently, he told business owners that he could foresee cutting regulations by 75% or even more. He did not spell out exactly how he plans to achieve this, but as usual, he seemed overly confident that it was a goal he could reach.
None of us like dealing with excess regulations. You’ve probably considered going through a red light when it’s 2:00 a.m. and no one is on the streets. Maybe you didn’t wash your hands for two minutes when you were at work. You may have torn the tag off of your mattress.
Certainly regulations can be a burden at times, but why are they there in the first place? Eliminating 75% of the regulations our government have debated and worked hard to put in place may put us at risk for the things the regulations were trying to protect us from.
President Trump’s budget calls for a 30% reduction in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He has declared he will work to knock down regulatory hurdles he feels keep American businesses from producing efficiently and competing nationally. He nominated Scott Pruitt, a well-known opponent of the EPA, to head the EPA. Because, sure, that makes sense.
Pruitt began his term by challenging years of scientific opinion and calling to lift the ban on chlorpyrifos, which is a pesticide that has been used on vegetables and fruits. Scientists believe there is a link between the pesticide and brain damage.
Proposed legislation would favor industry heavily over the environment. It could put in jeopardy the EPA’s ability to protect us from pollutants, toxins and pesticides that may be in everyday products — such as laundry detergent, cleaning agents and commercial dyes.
Losing 30% of the budget will only guarantee that programs must be cut, and protections will be lessened. Businesses may run more efficiently, but the bigger price we may pay will be in the safety of our air and water.
President Trump has said he wants to do away with what he refers to as “inspection overkill” of the Food Police. These are the rules that govern soil use on farms, cleanliness in food production facilities as well as food temperatures and food packaging. Of course, these regulations were put in place to protect people from getting sick or dying from preventable food-borne illnesses. What a strange and useless concept, right?
Case in point, in 2010, Congress enacted new food safety regulations in response to a salmonella outbreak in a Georgia peanut company that killed nine people and made another 700 across the country sick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 48 million people in the United States are sickened with a food-borne illness every year, and 3,000 of them die. Legislation supported by farmers and lawmakers required that irrigation water be tested regularly for harmful bacteria, and workers must be trained on proper hygiene and food safety practices.
The food industry and its consumers need safe food. Reducing the effectiveness of the FDA could put more people at risk of getting sick or dying. It would also destroy consumer confidence, and ultimately make the United States less globally competitive, which is supposed to be the opposite of what Trump wants.
Lawsuits are bad for business, so President Trump and the current Congress have said they would like to make big changes. Many feel that small businesses are being dragged into court simply because of the abusive power of lawyers under the current rules governing class-action lawsuits.
At risk are some of the protections and resolutions given to those who have suffered from mesothelioma and asbestos. These measures were put in place so corporations do not risk the safety of others to make a higher profit.
This could extend to how consumers receive compensation from defective and dangerous products such as exploding hover boards, burning cell phones and products that are dangerous if inhaled — such as talcum powder used in makeup and personal care products.
We want businesses to thrive, but we also want them to be responsible for what they are selling.
The Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, is also targeted for major cuts. The goal is to accelerate the process for approving drugs that we use in all aspects of our health care system. Sounds good at first, but the delays in getting drugs approved are because they are being tested to make sure they are safe.
President Trump chose Dr. Scott Gottlieb to run the FDA, which came as a sigh of relief to those concerned he would pick Jim O’Neill — a former Health and Human Services official who argued that companies shouldn’t have to prove in clinical trials that their drugs work before putting them on the market. Dr. Gottlieb has made it clear that one of his top priorities is to speed up the process for drug approvals.
Rules and regulations are created for a reason. We elect our government officials to serve our needs and to protect us from harm whenever possible. Many regulations were put in place to avoid a repeat of a tragedy. Before we start eliminating them in the spirit of efficiency, let’s hope that President Trump and his appointees understand why they are there in the first place.
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