President Obama devoted his final state-of-the-union speech to highlighting his administration’s considerable accomplishments, and, more importantly, to articulating a surprisingly robust progressive vision for the future.
And that vision properly included a large role for federal regulation.
Noting that “reckless Wall Street,” not food stamp recipients, caused the financial meltdown of 2008-09, the President predicted, “working families won’t get more opportunity or bigger paychecks by letting big banks or big oil or hedge funds make their own rules at the expense of everyone else.”
The obvious corollary is that the federal government must maintain a strong regulatory system to prevent companies from imposing risks to the financial and physical health of the American people and to their shared environment. We must therefore design and maintain a regulatory system that is impervious to capture by the companies that it is designed to regulate.
The President did throw a sop to the Republican side of the room when he vowed to continue the Administration’s efforts to locate and weed out ineffective regulations and reduce red tape.
Since every president since President Carter has pledged to do the same thing, one would think that few truly unnecessary regulations are left to repeal. But it is always a good idea for agencies to be open to revising or even repealing regulations in light of changes in technology, scientific understandings, business practices or other relevant circumstances.
One would ...