Since taking control of the House in 2010, Republicans have crafted dozens of bills ostensibly devoted to “streamlining and simplifying” the federal government. They’ve pushed them through the lower chamber, promising to cut red tape and create jobs. But on Tuesday, they let the cat out of the bag. These bills, it turns out, are essentially efforts to undermine Wall Street reform and Obamacare while greenlighting pollution.
Much of the House GOP’s jobs package is devoted to legislation requiring various forms of “cost-benefit analysis” on new regulations. Critics, however, have repeatedly noted that agencies already have to perform a host of economic impact assessments before making rules. They argue that these bills are really only interested in emphasizing costs. The benefits of regulations, after all, tend to be longer-term and hard to quantify, while costs are relatively easy to figure out. When you curb pollution and give people access to health insurance, it saves lives — something far more difficult to assign a dollar value than the upfront costs to corporate interests.