+
More

Trump wants to get rid of 'wasteful' regulations. Here's why that's of concern.

True
Civic Ventures

While on the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump made it clear what he plans to do to regulations.

"I would say 70% of regulations can go," he was quoted as saying at a town hall meeting. According to his website, his vision for regulations is to ask all department heads to submit a list of "every wasteful and unnecessary regulation which kills jobs" — and then to eliminate them.

The site indicates an exception for regulations regarding "public safety." But the tricky thing is, the public, businesses, and the government don't always agree which regulations are necessary for public safety.


Image via iStock.

History shows us that many necessary regulations that we take for granted today were initially opposed by corporations that said they'd hurt jobs and destroy the industry. Fortunately, in these cases, regulation won the day.

Here are three prominent times that public safety regulations won out and we all benefitted — and not at the expense of business either.

1. Food and drug labelling laws

Image via iStock.

At the turn of the 20th century, the food and drug industries were virtually uncontrolled.

Chemical preservatives weren’t tested for safety; toxic colors were frequently used; milk cows weren't tested for tuberculosis; and opium, morphine, heroin, and cocaine were often ingredients in popular medicines — and there were no labels to warn consumers of their presence.

According to the FDA, Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, chief of the Division of Chemistry, was one of the first to crusade for safety laws in regards to food and medicine.

He started volunteer "hygiene table studies" where young men would eat food containing chemical preservatives (these trials became popularly known as "poison squads") to demonstrate that the ingredients were harmful. He wanted to show the public that these preservatives should only be used when necessary and that none should be used without informing the consumer on the label.

But it wasn't an easy task.

A "poison squad.” Image via the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Flickr.

Whiskey distillers and patent medicine firms (the largest advertisers in the country) vehemently opposed a federal food and drug law.

They said it would put them out of business, and they argued that the government had no business policing what people ate, drank, or used as medicine.

A political cartoon pays homage to Wiley, who led the fight to institute a federal law to prohibit adulterated and misbranded food and drugs. Image via the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Flickr.

In large part because of this and other opposition, the incremental progress toward food labeling took over a century. Many laws were passed and regulations approved that gave consumers information about what they were putting into their bodies, but each was met with resistance. Concessions had to be made when passing them so that revisions, amendments, and new versions were later needed to protect consumers.

Food labelling as we know it today wasn’t required until 1990. By then, public opinion had shifted, and it was recognized that these laws and regulations were helping public safety.

2. Mandatory seat belts

Image via iStock.

In 1970,  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations proposed that all vehicles include an automatic restraint system.

The auto industry, led by Ford, GM, and Chrysler, balked, saying that things like seat belts and airbags would hurt the manufacturing industry by increasing costs.

In one leaked 1971 private meeting between Ford senior executives and President Richard Nixon that was caught on tape, Ford Motor Co. chairman Henry Ford IIcomplained that "the price of a Pinto ... [would go] up something like 50% in the next three years with the inflation part of it, but that's not the big part of it. It's the safety requirements, the emission requirements."

The vehement opposition to the legislation led to over a decade of delays — until public pressure began to mount.

"When I was an administrator, I did a lot of crash testing of cars, and it showed how the occupant is thrown around in the interior of the car when the crash occurs. And people began to understand because they could see it — visually — how violent auto crashes are," says Joan Claybrook, the former head of the National Highway Safety Administration under President Jimmy Carter and former head of Public Citizen.

"So when the auto companies wouldn’t put provisions in the car or opposed them, the public began to understand that they were not helping the public by doing that. It was essentially allowing people to be killed," she adds.

Image via iStock.

It wasn't until 1984 that states began requiring seat belt use (starting with New York). By 1989, most states had seat belt laws in place.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts have saved an estimated 275,000 lives over the last 40 years.

"What regulation does is that it assures that every new car that’s manufactured meets certain minimum standards," says Claybrook, “If you don’t have regulation, the higher-income wealthier people in the country will demand that their more luxury cars have safety provisions and the rest of the public, in their less expensive cards, often don’t get them — or don’t get them for years.”

3. Banning smoking on airlines

Image via iStock.

It took almost 30 years for smoking to be banned on all commercial airlines and flights — despite health risks to both crew and passengers.

Tobacco companies actively fought any and all regulations against their products well into the 1990s, even though warning labels were first mandated back in 1965 — a year after the surgeon general's report on the health risks had come out — and the dangers of smoking were becoming well-established.

Airlines also worried that their customers wouldn't fly if they couldn’t smoke on long flights and that losing all their smoking customers could hurt business. The airlines thought it would be impossible to ban smoking completely, even if flight attendants and nonsmokers were advocating for it.

"Suitcases, uniforms, hair — all stunk from cigarette smoke," Tracy Shear, a flight attendant with U.S. Airways, shared with The New York Times. "And it’s astounding that we didn’t have more cabin fires."

Image via iStock.

In 1990, despite bitter resistance by the tobacco industry and after years of pressure from the Association of Flight Attendants, smoking was banned on all but a few domestic flights that were over six hours.

It took another 10 years for a federal law to be passed outlawing smoking on all flights by U.S. airlines — and interestingly, the move to make all flights smoke-free was celebrated by employees, customers, and even the airlines themselves. Customers didn't stop flying because they couldn't smoke — in fact, everyone was thankful for the clean air in the cabin.

Today, the battle over regulations is far from over.

Lobbyists and businesses still campaign every day for deregulation, saying that meddling from Uncle Sam will hurt them. Some of the loudest opposition comes from oil and energy companies fighting regulations to mitigate pollution and environmental damage — despite the frequent environmental disasters that occur and the looming threat of climate change.

Image via iStock.

Like tax cuts for the wealthy, we are told that deregulation is what's best for business and our economy because that is how innovation happens. When profits are good, they say, the benefits will "trickle down" to the rest of us. But time and time again, we have seen the opposite. Regulation doesn't kill businesses — it just makes them safer.

So as a new president takes office, it’s important to remember that regulation "equalizes the safety protections for everybody," as Claybrook explains. These laws are necessary to protect people’s lives. Perhaps one day we will think that environmental regulations are just as common sense as we now find seat belts.

The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

Keep ReadingShow less
@boglarkagyorgy/Instagram

"The Trout," performed by Samsung.

One might expect to hear Franz Schubert’s "Die Forelle," more widely known as "The Trout," at the philharmonic orchestra. However, Boglarka Gyorgy noticed her washing machine playing the catchy classical tune. Apparently, this is a feature for a particular Samsung line of washing machines.

Being a professional musician herself, she couldn’t resist the urge to grab her violin and perform an impromptu duet with her appliance—and then post it to Instagram, of course. The result was a hilarious, impressive and viral hit.
Keep ReadingShow less
Education

Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

PA Struggles/Youtube

An estimated 50-70% of the population doesn't have an internal monologue.

The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

So what about the other 50-70%? What exactly goes on inside their heads from day to day?

In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Surprising Australian interview from 1974 shows just how weird it was for women to be in a bar

“You think women are going to be shocked by your language—that’s why you don’t want them in here?"

Surprising interview from 1974 shows how weird it was for women to be in a bar.

Once upon a time, things were weird. This is sure to be a sentiment that children of the future will share about the rules and customs of today, but knowing that fact doesn't stop things from the past from seeming a bit strange. In a rediscovered video clip of an Australian *gasp* female reporter in a bar in 1974, it's clear pretty quickly that she's out of place.

It's almost as if she's describing her movements like Steve Irwin would do when approaching a wild animal in its natural habitat. Her tone is even and hushed as she makes her way into the bar telling viewers how she's going to make her way to the barkeep, who also looks to be a woman. So I guess women were allowed to work in bars but not drink in them?

Honestly, that part was a little confusing for me but seemed the norm by the reporter's reaction. But what was not normal was a woman squeezing between men and ordering a drink and the men letting the reporter know that the bar was no place for a woman...unless you're the bartender. Who knows? 1974 was a wild year apparently.

Keep ReadingShow less

Self-dating is one of TikTok's latest trends.

Miley Cyrus' official music video for her new single "Flowers" is less than two weeks old, and it's already racked up a whopping 108 million views on YouTube. The smash hit also broke Spotify's record for the most streams in a single week, knocking K-pop superband BTS and their hit song "Butter" out of the top spot.

There's a reason "Flowers" is making waves. It's not only a catchy tune, but an empowering one, especially for women who've been socialized to believe they need a significant other to make them happy.

While most post-break-up songs are filled with heartache and lament and perhaps a bit of resentment, "Flowers" takes a different tack. While Cyrus sings about not wanting a relationship to end, she ultimately realizes she can give herself what she wants from a partner and it's incredibly liberating.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cake that Karly Blackburn sent to Nike.

Even though the United States is going through a labor shortage, high-profile jobs are still tough as ever to get. In a world where hundreds of applicants send in their resumes for the same job, it can be hard to stand out.

Karly Pavlinac Blackburn of Wilmington, North Carolina, was lamenting that the jobs she wanted were too competitive when a colleague suggested the 27-year-old do something dramatic to get her name out there.

"I was actually talking to my former colleague about getting in front of employers—and he was like, 'Well, Karly you need to do better ... show up in a creative way ... what about a resume on a cake?'" she told Good Morning America.

So Blackburn did just that.

Keep ReadingShow less