In an essay published in The Hill on May 25, Professors David S. Cohen and Alex Geisinger argue that moves by Republicans in Washington belie the party’s longstanding reputation for fighting government regulation.
Since Reagan’s presidency, Cohen and Geisinger wrote, Republicans have developed a narrative that government treads on personal freedom, destroys jobs and hampers economic growth.
Yet recent actions by Washington Republicans reveal a willingness to impose and enforce rules that affect businesses and consumers alike, Cohen and Geisinger wrote.
As examples, Cohen and Geisinger cited a gag rule that President Trump has proposed, which would prevent Title X health centers from referring patients to abortion providers, a decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind Obama-era guidance allowing states to legalize marijuana and Congressional repeal of components of the Dodd-Frank law that protected Americans from ventures that led to the 2008 financial crisis, while retaining some of its rules.
The gag rule forces doctors, nurses and clinic administrators to change their way of practicing “because of intrusive business regulation,” the professors wrote. Allowing federal marijuana laws to take precedence over state preferences contradicts the traditional conservative narrative.
“It suggests the ‘nanny state’ is a better decision-maker than the individual while removing rights from the states and impeding the growth of a new money-making venture,” Cohen and Geisinger said.
“Like Democrats, Republicans love government regulation, but only when it suits the party’s substantive goals,” the professors wrote. “This week demonstrated in great relief what those goals are: The Republicans chose to remove regulations that protect Americans from the types of risky ventures that led to the Great Recession, despite the fact that Wall Street is already making record profits, while controlling how the medical profession treats women’s reproductive health needs.”