Just in the past week, I’ve come across several accounts of the Trump Administration’s war on regulation–you know, those pesky rules that impede commerce by denying businesses the “liberty” of selling shoddy and dangerous goods to an unwary public.
The crashes were brutal. With no warning, the front wheel on the three-wheeled BOB jogging strollers fell off, causing the carriages to careen and even flip over. Adults shattered bones. They tore ligaments. Children smashed their teeth. They gashed their faces. One child bled from his ear canal.
Staff members at the Consumer Product Safety Commission collected 200 consumer-submitted reports from 2012 to 2018 of spontaneous failure of the stroller wheel, which is secured to a front fork by a quick-release lever, like on a bicycle. Nearly 100 adults and children were injured, according to the commission. The agency’s staff members investigated for months before deciding in 2017 that one of the most popular jogging strollers on the market was unsafe and needed to be recalled.
The manufacturer refused to issue a voluntary recall of the nearly 500,000 strollers, insisting they were safe when used as instructed. The agency sued.
Then Trump was elected.
According to a review of documents by The Washington Post and interviews with eight current and former senior agency officials, the agency’s Republican chairwoman kept Democratic commissioners in the dark about the stroller investigation and then helped end the case in court.
The settlement did not include a recall or formal correction plan.
Paul Krugman’s column in the New York Times looks at food inspections.His column’s title– “Donald Trump is Trying to Kill You”–isn’t really an exaggeration. As Krugman notes, even if he’s a one-term president, Trump will have caused, directly or indirectly, the premature deaths of a large number of Americans.
Some of those deaths will come at the hands of right-wing, white nationalist extremists, who are a rapidly growing threat, partly because they feel empowered by a president who calls them “very fine people.”
Some will come from failures of governance, like the inadequate response to Hurricane Maria, which surely contributed to the high death toll in Puerto Rico. (Reminder: Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.)
Some will come from the administration’s continuing efforts to sabotage Obamacare..
But the biggest death toll is likely to come from Trump’s agenda of deregulation — or maybe we should call it “deregulation,” because his administration is curiously selective about which industries it wants to leave alone.
The administration recently announced plans to allow hog plants to take over a large part of what is currently federal responsibility for food safety inspections.
And why not? It’s not as if we’ve seen safety problems arise from self-regulation in, say, the aircraft industry, have we? Or as if we ever experience major outbreaks of food-borne illness? Or as if there was a reason the U.S. government stepped in to regulate meatpackingin the first place?
Krugman notes that the administration also wants to roll back rules that limit emissions of mercury from power plants, and has acted to prevent the EPA from explaining the benefits of reduced mercury emissions. But the Trump Administration is very worried about supposed negative side effects of renewable energy, negatives which, as Krugman points out, “generally exist only in their imagination.”
Last year the administration floated a proposal that would have forced the operators of electricity grids to subsidize coal and nuclear energy. The supposed rationale was that new sources were threatening to destabilize those grids — but the grid operators themselves denied that this was the case.
An administration willing to “trust” pork producers insists that wind turbines cause cancer. This may just be because the President is monumentally ignorant (and clinically insane), but Krugman reminds us to follow the money.
Political contributions from the meat-processing industry overwhelmingly favor Republicans. Coal mining supports the G.O.P. almost exclusively. Alternative energy, on the other hand, generally favors Democrats.
Baby strollers, I assume, are manufactured by contributors to the GOP…one of the consolations of old age is no longer having a baby to stroll…
Thanks to growing up kosher, I still don’t eat pork. The rest of you might rethink that too.