By Barbara Falconer Newhall
Why bother with regulations? Why not just slash them and trash them, as Donald Trump has decided to do at the federal level?
Why bother? Because regulations, federal, state and local, keep people safe. Because without carefully conceived and implemented regulations, people die. People like the 36 artists, musicians and party goers who perished on Dec. 2, when Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse-turned-artists-loft burst into flames.
As Julie Prodis Sulek pointed out in a Dec. 15 article in the East Bay Times, the Ghost Ship warehouse fire “was no natural disaster, no earthquake, no terrorist shooting. This disaster was avoidable; 36 people were victims not just of the smoke and fire, but of recklessness, bureaucracy and indifference.”
According to a New York Times article, neither Oakland’s Building Department nor its Fire Department had inspected the Ghost Ship warehouse in 30 years.
Yes, Regulations Can Be Onerous
Not every regulation is essential, obviously. Many codes and regulations on the federal, state and local level could be dispensed with. And, yes, regulations increase the cost of doing business for small businesses as well as big corporations. But I for one will be happy to pay a little extra for, say, the mandatory seat belt installed on the next car I buy. Or for the smoke detectors that my city requires me to install around the house.
Smoke detectors. Automobiles. Electrical appliances. Public roads and bridges. High rises. Wall Street transactions. Mortgages. Employers. All are subject to government regulations.
And how about baby food? The FDA regulations that keep baby food safe are no doubt mighty cumbersome for the food industry. But they help protect my babies and yours from food poisoning. Does Trump plan on slashing and trashing those?
Will Deregulation Put Americans at Risk?
Thirty-six people, so many of them young and hopeful and talented, died because their city failed to do its job and protect their safety. How many people will die because of Trump’s so-called regulatory “reforms”?