The powerhouse of America’s business is being killed and that’s why we can’t pull out of this recession. Recently I watched a T.V. series called the men who built America and it detailed the businesses who turned us into the envy of the world. The names of Rockefeller, Ford and J.P Morgan, are forgotten by most but the results of their efforts are all around us.
In the late 1800’s America was largely rural and farm focused. There were great resources but little innovation. Then these men came onto the scene and everything changed. They were able to build incredible businesses that shocked the world and turned America into a powerhouse.
Unfortunately, some of them went too far and used very questionable business practices which got them into big trouble; however their accomplishments are without equal. Their actions led the way for the rise of America’s business, those businesses that have raised our standard of living to the envy of the world until recently.
But what happened? The change didn’t begin with the Obama administration, they have just accelerated them. The major events began just after World War II the federal government began to expand. One of those great expansions was when we began to notice the environment. It was true that many businesses, in haste to produce war materials abused the environment. This continued after the war by the dumping of waste into rivers, lakes and even the ground, and became common. Local governments tried to control the resulting pollutions but many of the problems just went across lines with the flow of water both surface and underground.
Then in 1962 the basic environmental ideas crystallized with the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. This brilliantly written book was an attack on the unrestricted use of pesticides, but it attracted worldwide attention and caused a revolution in public thinking and opinion toward the environment. People began to look around and began to see pollution and the degradation of the environment everywhere.
As a result of the past abuses, congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which President Nixon signed New Years day 1970. This was the beginning of the environmental cleanup and the beginning of the end for business. Everything started well with the EPA getting after the bad guys to clean up the worst offenders. However, as their work progressed they begin to increase staff and scope.
The political nature of the EPA became clear when the first administrator of the EPA, William Ruckelshaus, banned the insecticide DDT. This was done even after his own hearing examiner had concluded that after extensive hearings, it should not to be banned. By 1991, concern had grown so much that a panel of outside scientists were brought in to review EPA practices in setting regulations. The panel concluded that the EPA often shields key research from peer review and doesn’t always use good science in their rule setting.
With over 15,000 full time employees and thousands of “Consultants” new regulations is their lifeblood. If new things were not found to regulate, they would have to reduce staffing and many would have to find a job that might contribute to the economy. To avoid this they now want to control almost all parts of our lives.
Along with many other federal regulators they are choking our economy in every part of our country. Like all government agencies, getting more people, more control and more money is the name of the game. As government gets bigger they look for more things to do and/or control. We must put a limit on government size. For example, the EPA started in 1970 with zero employees now has over 15,000. With all their growth shouldn’t they have pollution under control and need less people? We need to tell our government to roll itself back, reduce staff and find some laws and rules that need to be eliminated, thus freeing us to start new business and get America going again.
Mike Young is a retired water and power executive who resides in Mesquite. Graduated from the University of LaVerne he has taught communications skills and technical subjects throughout the Western Hemisphere. In addition to writing and editing technical manuals, he has a book titled “Speaking for Effect”. He has received some of the highest awards and recognition from both professional and public organizations.