April 24th, 2017 .

On Staying Afloat in the Trump Era

Pat Morden

 

Recently I was doing a paint touch-up at home. I discovered that the oil-based paint I was planning to use had dried up, so I trundled off to the decorating store. There I discovered that I could no longer buy the same formulation. As the retailer sold me a different product, she muttered “Government regulations!” in disgust.

I got to work at home and discovered that the new formulation was easy to apply, had virtually no smell, dried to a beautiful pearl finish, and could be cleaned up with soap and water. (If you’d ever seen me paint, you’d realize that this last feature is especially important.)

In other words, when the government forced paint companies to re-formulate using less toxic materials, the companies came up with a better product.

President Trump and his merry band have been joyfully eliminating government regulation since January 21. Most recently, the orange one eliminated virtually all climate change regulation with one sweep of his pen. He’s seriously considering ducking out of the Paris climate change accord. (And this in spite of the fact that ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company, is urging the White House to stick with the agreement.)

Right-wing ideology says that removing regulation will spur private sector investment and innovation. And as we all know, a rising tide floats all boats.

(Well, some boats. Okay, two or three boats, mostly the yachts of White House appointees. Which they’ll need as sea levels rise due to climate change.)

But sometimes it’s regulation that spurs innovation. Look what emission controls have done for the car industry!

A domestic example: to avoid peak time electricity costs, we’ve developed several new recipes that allow us to do all our oven cooking before 5 p.m. We’re eating well, conserving energy, and saving money.

Blindly following ideology – on the right or the left – is not a good way to govern. Thoughtful, flexible, fact-based policies keep us all afloat.

 

P.S. For the past year I’ve been posting my blogs to my profile on linkedin.com. If you’d like see more, visit me there.

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