The Tea Party mantra of small is beautiful, that government is the problem, that the states can always handle it better than the federal government, has some fatal flaws: The public still looks to the federal government anyway to help when the chips are down, and voters take it out on whomever is in power, even years later, for not having the ability or will to fix their problems .
The current GOP mantra is getting EPA and Wall Street regulations off the backs of business so jobs can be created. Rick Perry‘s jobs plan is exclusively to drill for oil and gas unshackled from government environmental regulations. That is music to Texans' ears, but just wait until the next BP-like oil spill destroys shrimpers' income and coats South Padre Island beaches in goopy oil. Watch the fingers point to the EPA and regulators then. Woe be unto a President Perry if he is in the White House.
Closer to home, Colorado's Jensen Farms' listeria-tainted cantaloupe disaster can be directly attributed to lax inspection, as reported in the Denver Post on Oct. 30. Because the Food and Drug Administration inspections are so underfunded, industry is supposed to regulate itself, hiring third parties to do inspections instead. Rarely, according to the Post, do the third party inspectors ever blow a whistle; their employers may not like it.
Many of our recent e coli and tainted meat scares can be traced to the lack of hard nosed, toe-the-regulation-line inspections. However, somehow the public assumes and expects the federal government to be doing its job regardless of whether taxpayers give them the wherewithal .
Who took the fall for the Katrina disaster? It was not the private sector. Federal failures were a major black eye for George W. Bush who looked incompetent in the face of the inability of the federal government to do what was expected of it.
Yet in September the GOP tried to hold the FEMA disaster fund hostage to budget battles in the wake of the Joplin tornado and a hurricane.
What if the GOP captures the White House, and both houses of Congress and repeals the Wall Street reform act? No one has challenged the GOP, including the Occupy Wall Streeters, with any vigor. It is partially because no one understands what the legislation does, but a few years from now, when consumers get suckered by lenders playing deceptive shell game marketing tricks, as they did leading to this last crisis, or one bank holds the whole economy hostage to their economic failure, whoever is in the White House will be blamed.
While focus has been on what reform did not do, the act did establish a consumer protection bureau and it tackled the “too big to fail issue.” Before the reform act was passed, when big banks that also had investment arms threatened collapse, the bailouts were the only way to keep them from bringing down the rest of the banking dominos and our entire economy to boot. Now there is a mechanism to wind down an investment bank without having to resort to a bailout. Repeal Wall Street reform will leave us again with one option to avoid taking down our economy: bailouts.