According to an Associated Press article today, public trust in the government is at a low. So even though Wall Street had a meltdown and dragged the world’s economy along with it, and even though the BP disaster soiled the coast of five states and jeopardized the Gulf of Mexico, politicians are responding by treading carefully around the “r” word.
But these and other incidents show that regulation is needed now more than ever.
In the article, Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said he believes it to be “quite remarkable that the Chamber [of Commerce] feels it’s time to start a new anti-regulation campaign,” because the Wall Street meltdown, Gulf oil disaster, Toyota car recalls and Massey coal mine explosion were “all directly tied to inadequate regulation.”
At best, Americans are conflicted about the idea of government regulation. A new Bloomberg poll found:
- A plurality of respondents have become more supportive of tougher regulations in recent months
- More than a third said there should be more government oversight in general
- The rest wanted less regulation or about the current amount
Most major regulations must stem from an edict from Congress, and according to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, Congress gets an unfavorable rating from 3 of every 4 Americans.
Nearly 4 in 5 of those polled by Bloomberg said they have just a little or no confidence that the new finance law will prevent or significantly soften a future crisis, or make their personal assets more secure.
Still, had there been better regulatory oversight of the coal, oil and financial industries, the recent disasters might not have happened. The dangerous design for the blowout preventer might not have been approved, or a backup system may had been required. The coal mine may have been shut down when dangerous levels of methane were detected. It seems so obvious in hindsight. All we need now is a little foresight — and regulation.