The US Department of Labor recently hosted a meeting with business executives where they discussed “cutting the red tape.” And when companies talk to lawmakers about cutting red tape, it always ends very badly for American consumers and workers. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this issue.

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Transcript:

Mike Papantonio: The US department of Labor recently hosted a meeting with business executives where they discussed cutting all of the red tape. And when the companies talk to law makers about cutting all the red tape, it always ends up very badly for consumers and workers. Cutting all the red tape is just nothing but talk. It’s the equivalent of we don’t want anybody looking over the shoulders of corporate America, we don’t really care about what corporate America does to consumers.

You can cut all the red tape. It’s just another way of saying we really think you’re going to be honest enough, and you’re going to be fair enough with consumers that we don’t have to worry about you. How outrageous is this story?

Farron Cousins: There’s so many different issues with this. And let’s go to the first one, let’s talk about that talking point, the cut the red tape. This is the standard, Republican’s say this, any Republican, whether it’s running for dog catcher or president of the United States, everything in between, tell us that regulations are killing jobs.

You don’t have a job, or you don’t have a good enough job, because these liberals have put these regulations in place that’s preventing you from succeeding in life. All your problems are because of regulations.

First and foremost, there’s absolutely no reality in that. We have seen study after study showing that regulations, whether they’re environmental or work place regulations, increase productivity and contribute more money to the local economy. I think for every one dollar you spend on regulations, seven extra dollars ripples through the economy.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, that’s true. There’s a reason for it. The reason is this, at first you have the company that says “Oh well, this is fantastic. I can pollute this stream, I can steal this money from mom and pop investors on Wall Street. I can put this pill on the market, this pharmaceutical that we have information it will shut down the liver, it’ll shut down the kidney. But we can do that because the FDA’s not looking at us.”

Automobile, how many times have we seen recalls, and what we find after the recall is the regulator let it happen. The regulator let this bad thing happen, whether it’s gas tanks exploding, the regulator said “Yeah, that’s okay, we’re going to let it happen.” Monsanto right now with Roundup, the regulators are letting Monsanto be sold on the market, and it’s killing people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and all types of concerns.

So you’re take is the long term is it’s going to cost?

Farron Cousins: And there’s a great example for that. Look, we’re what, a week or two at this point away from the … what will this be, eight year anniversary of the BP oil spill. Now you want to talk about what a lack of regulations does and what it costs a company? Look at what BP did.

Now, I know you know this better than anybody else, the regulators were almost literally in bed with BP and Deep Water Horizon, and I forget the other name. But they let them, the regulators said “Hey, guys on this rig, why don’t you fill out your own safety reports. Do it in pencil. We’re going to come back and write it in pen, we’re going to not pop you on this, we’re going to ignore this.”

Chris Oynes was the regulator on this.

Mike Papantonio: That’s right.

Farron Cousins: And this is what happens. And now we have a government that is 100% Republican controlled, and they’re inviting these business leaders to this little summit that they had a few months ago, saying “What can we do for you? What regulations do you want gone? How can we screw your workers?”

And listen, here are the things they wanted to get rid of. The overtime rules, they want to get rid of that. They talked about getting rid of a rule to ensure retirement savers don’t receive conflicted advice so they’re screwed with their retirement. And they want to get rid of the rule that requires business to electronically report workplace injures and debts.

Mike Papantonio: Right, right. Okay, look, let’s back up just a little bit. You threw a lot of stuff out. There were four law firms in America that were assigned to handle the BP case, we were one of them. The point that you’re making about … What you were talking about there as well, we call regulator capture.

We have a revolving door, we’ve talked about this so many times. You have regulation capture. In the fossil fuel industry, we actually had the people who were supposed to be mining management, how were supposed to be regulating what was going out, going onto the gulf, the gulf of Mexico. They were actually having cocaine parties, where they would bring in prostitutes and they would have these … they were just basically legalized orgies in their mind.

Well, we’re going to have this huge orgy with these regulators. Well, the regulators, they saw the relationship, they had this party where they bring in women, they bring in. Money would be exchanging hands. And all of a sudden they found out well these regulators are kind of letting us do what we want to do.

These are only a different kind of prostitute, these are prostitute politicians. These prostitutes live in Washington DC. These prostitutes, they get paid another way, they get paid by way of campaign contribution. But they’re prostitutes nonetheless. They will sell their character, they’ll sell their honesty, they will sell the consumer down the river for the right amount of money.

Now, your point is that right now they’re having this big meeting, and the big meeting is where they’re telling corporate America “This is the checklist of things we’re going to do, you give us some more things that you want us to do and we’re going to do it.” Isn’t that what’s happening?

Farron Cousins: And you have actual employees, regular civil servants at the department of Labor, which, I think we might have skipped that. The department of Labor put on this meeting, they invited them there. And the employees from the department of Labor who helped plan this said “Okay, well we’ve got all this businesses that have RSVP’d, we need to go ahead and invite the Labor unions. We need worker protection agencies.” And the department of Labor said we’re not going to do that, we don’t need their voices here.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.