Do We Need Government Regulators?
My conservative friends have a long list of things being done wrong in this country, and always at or near the top of that list is government regulation. As a matter of principal, conservatives consider regulation an intrusion by busy-body bureaucrats into our private lives and personal business.
Having run the complaint department for a major municipality, I know that, yes, of course there are instances when a regulation intended for a specific issue can be overbearing in another and probably unintended circumstance.
But let us consider a common problem faced by the various cruise lines: how to dispose of the oily waste generated by the massive engines that power those huge vessels.
You and I both know that for years all that foul stuff was simply discharged directly into the ocean. But as concern for the environment increased and sharpened, governments developed regulations prohibiting the practice. Problem solved, right?
Uh … well, no. When they thought no one was looking, it was polluting as usual with at least one of the major cruise lines. A couple of years ago, Princess Cruises hired a new engineer to work aboard the Caribbean Princess where he was introduced to what veteran crew members called the “magic pipe”—so named because all that oily crap conveniently disappeared when dumped into it …as if by magic.
But when his first cruise was completed, that new engineer left the ship, quit his job, and blew the whistle. As a result, and just announced, was the biggest criminal penalty ever assessed for “deliberate vessel pollution”—a whopping 40 million bucks.
The thing is, the bastards did it to save money. In fact, that’s reason we have pollution—because every other option is expensive and because people are selfish and they’ll cheat if it saves time or money, or if it adds a dollar or two to a stock dividend.
Cruise ships or banks or power plants—it doesn’t matter. That’s why we have regulations and why we enforce them.