It is a strange dynamic – many people dislike rules and regulations and abhor overseers of every type UNTIL . . . some inebriated motorist crashes into their car or an unscrupulous broker bilks their grandmother out of her life savings or children begin to die of pollutants from the neighboring manufacturer’s smokestack. “This never shoulda happened” becomes the mantra.
Unfortunately, not everyone lives by the rules of “shoulda.” In fact, if people and companies and governments always did the right thing, there would be no reason for rules at all. And not everyone voluntarily follows the rules– not if the rules get in the way of profit, personal goals or expediency.
For those wayward types (of whom there are many) the only thing that encourages compliance is some threat of punishment (financial or otherwise). In turn, this calls for an oversight process to find and punish those who stray. Wherever there are rules, there must be oversight and overseers.
For a number of years I worked on the broker-dealer side of securities and financial planning, a highly regulated industry. During the periods I served as a Securities Principal, I often locked horns with even good brokers who sometimes resented the restrictions placed on their sales.
“How am I to make a living with all these rules and you looking over my shoulder all the time,” they would grouse. To which I would reply, “The rules do not contemplate your need to make a living; they exist only to protect investors from unfair trade practices or outright fraud.”
Absent a robust set of rules, oversight and punishment, almost every aspect of life would worsen and sadly that is where our current national leadership is steering us by changing or weakening regulations, dismantling oversight agencies, and withdrawing financial support.
Have these people so soon forgotten the smog that choked LA, the 3 mile island disaster, the contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the 2008 Great Recession from lax banking and brokerage practices. Go further back in history and think of miners with black lung disease, child laborers, debtor’s prisons, injuries and death prior to OSHA, and so on.
Until all humans voluntarily and reliably do the right thing at all times, sadly we must have laws, oversight, and when necessary, penalties.
— Jonnie Martin