The Republican War on Women demonstrates their oh-so-conservative decision to govern by the precautionary principle. Small-government conservatives have decided it is government’s job to ensure that women view ultrasound videos and have transvaginal probes before having a legal abortion. Clearly, they want to ensure — in a consumer-protectiony kind of way — that women, people, are fully and thoroughly informed of the potential consequences before making such deeply personal decisions. Since Republicans clearly have decided it is government’s job to ensure that they are, shouldn’t we apply the same governing principle to other important personal decisions with potentially life-changing consequences? How about a trans-actional probe?

Let’s make all would-be Wall Street investors watch informative, cautionary videos before making their investments. Show them videos of families being evicted from their homes after foreclosure. Show them police perp-walking executives to the police station (The “Perp Walk”: A Visual History, for example). Have investment counselors advise them of the potential pitfalls of Wall Street investing: sneaky fine print, massive fraud by the banks, complex investment vehicles not even bank CEOs understand, dividends lost to inflated executive bonuses, loss of capital and financial ruin. Afterwards, send investors home for a suitable waiting period before allowing them back to sign on the dotted line.

A Democrat in the North Carolina legislature recently recounted his conversation with a GOP colleague who asked how much the state spent on needs-based financial aid for kids who wanted to go to college. The woman thought the state should not spend any, saying, “… until you have the money, you ought not go.” Again, sound, debt-averse austerity-think. The precautionary principle at work — emphasis on caution. Surely, there is another Republican legislative initiative in that.

America just had a major real estate meltdown. Millions of homeowners are under water. So, in keeping with the new fiscal austerity, let’s eliminate all government support for low-cost mortgages. Make people save their money until they can afford to pay cash for their homes. No spending on home furnishings or renovations, either.

(Cross-posted from Scrutiny Hooligans.)

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Tom Sullivan

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