CPR's Sid Shapiro in the Hill: In Defense of Regulation

Erin Kesler

Sept. 25, 2013

Today, the Hill published an op-ed by CPR Vice President Sid Shapiro entitled, "In Defense of Regulation."

According to the piece:

The responsible scholarly literature — as opposed to calculations cooked by business-friendly think tanks — has refuted the opponents’ claims of regulatory costs far in excess of the benefits of regulation. The same literature reminds us that not regulating also has costs — costs paid by the American public rather than by regulatory entities.

Consider the Environmental Protection Agency’s long-delayed revisions to air quality standards required by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. If it succeeds, and if the anti-regulation forces in Congress don’t derail it, the rules are projected to save 237,000 lives by 2020. If the rules are delayed further or scuttled altogether, that’s the cost of inaction — actual lives lost due to air-pollution-related illness.

It concludes:

Then there’s climate change. We’ve tried inaction, and the problem has grown more severe. Congress has failed to act, with the same forces opposed to regulation leading the charge against a law tailored to the specific causes of climate change. So it is left to the EPA and others to use existing statutory authority to reduce our planet-choking greenhouse gas emissions.

Like any aspect of government, the regulatory system is not perfect. But the long history of regulation in the United States tells a very consistent story: Smart regulation, pursuant to laws passed by Congress, saves lives, protects the economy, preserves the environment, safeguards workers, makes automobiles safer and more. Over our history, one overriding truth emerges: unregulated markets will not protect us or produce the type of society in which most of us would like to live. 

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