Too often, the only security regulators provide is a false one

If you haven’t read the investigative piece about day-care safety reports hidden from the public, printed in Sunday’s AJC and available online, you really should do so. Among other things, it’s a reminder that government oversight of an industry often creates nothing more than a false sense of security for that industry’s customers.

Day cares in Georgia (and most other states, I’d be willing to bet) must have a state-issued license in order to operate. It has to be renewed annually. A parents might inspect the day care personally before enrolling Junior there. But it would be typical, and reasonable, for a parent to assume the day care meets certain minimum standards if its license was granted and later renewed.

Instead, the AJC investigation found, more than a third of the day cares in Georgia had been deemed — by state regulators — out of compliance with state health and safety standards at least once in the past four years. The vast majority of them, even those with multiple years of non-compliance, were allowed to stay open.

Yet, the state did not publicly release the reports detailing these businesses’ shortcomings. (The AJC obtained them through an open records request.)

While some of these failures might be on minor points, some of them seem pretty major to this parent, including failure by some day cares to run background checks on people before hiring them. That’s a pretty basic thing: Even my relatively small church runs background checks before letting parents volunteer in the children’s ministry.

So, the state requires a license for a day care to operate and checks up on day cares to make sure they are complying with state laws — but then doesn’t close down the worst offenders and doesn’t tell parents about the problems so that they can decide for themselves.

That’s the same kind of false security that played out in the recent financial meltdown. One doesn’t have to get into the merits of repealing Glass-Steagall restrictions or passing the Community Reinvestment Act to recognize that banks’ risk was artificially and irresonsibly heightened because of faulty ratings of the mortgage-backed securities and a flawed international regulatory regime (Basel II), which not only allowed but incentivized banks to load up on these riskier-than-believed investments.

The old line still applies: Caveat emptor. And you’ll be more likely to follow it if you also heed the warning against believing government can regulate and monitor the risks or problems out of life.

– By Kyle Wingfield

209 comments Add your comment

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
10:01 am

Less government, less regulations = Bigger economy.

saywhat?

January 23rd, 2012
10:11 am

How would the AJC have obtained this information if the regulators hadn’t collected it in the first place? Rather than make the case for getting rid of regulators, you have made the case for a vigilant press.

that's goofy

January 23rd, 2012
10:13 am

Less regulation = 1929.

carlosgvv

January 23rd, 2012
10:15 am

If you want to understand this, just go to the Capital and meet all the day-care industry lobbyists. Money talks.

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
10:20 am

that’s goofy…..More Regulation = Germany 1942

HDB

January 23rd, 2012
10:23 am

When those who are anti-regulation persist in CUTTING the enforcement mechanism for regulation, the results are obvious!! Like the banking industry where regulation enforcement was CUT, Republican governments have cut the enforcement arm, thereby allowing day care centers to operate without fear of inspeections.

What needs to be done is both a strengthening of current regulation and strict ENFORCEMENT!! We have to expand the enforcement arm so that the public is made aware of the problems in day care….and that those who do not abide are CLOSED!!

HDB

January 23rd, 2012
10:25 am

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
10:20 am

More regulation = USA 1955 = growth of the MIDDLE CLASS!!

Remember – Eisenhower warned us of the “military-industrial complex”……………

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
10:26 am

HDB….and Hitler showed us what happens when you give too much control to the government over the free market.

Would you want the government tell your business how to operate?

Road Scholar

January 23rd, 2012
10:27 am

HDB: Right on!

Dr. Pangloss

January 23rd, 2012
10:31 am

“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it”–P.J. O’Rourke.

Georgia looks like a shining example.

Dr. Pangloss

January 23rd, 2012
10:32 am

BTW, the government, in various ways, has made me smarter and richer. I don’t know about taller, and I never had crabgrass.

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
10:33 am

“Republican governments ”

What in the world is a Republican government?

JDW

January 23rd, 2012
10:36 am

@Kyle…”So, the state requires a license for a day care to operate and checks up on day cares to make sure they are complying with state laws — but then doesn’t close down the worst offenders and doesn’t tell parents about the problems so that they can decide for themselves.

That’s the same kind of false security that played out in the recent financial meltdown.”

What you conveniently ignore is the that the failure is not so much of the regulations but more so the poor enforcement of them…by Republican led governments in both cases.

Sounds like a clear case of self-fulfilling prophesies to me…

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
10:41 am

JDW…..”republican led governments in both cases”? Rose colored lenses eh?

Don't Tread

January 23rd, 2012
10:42 am

There are still some people who think the police can protect them at all times. The same principle applies.

Similarly, restaurant inspection “grades” posted on the walls should be taken with a grain of salt. The restaurants know approximately, if not exactly, when the health inspector is coming.

The best protection is self-protection in many cases.

Aquagirl

January 23rd, 2012
10:45 am

How would the AJC have obtained this information if the regulators hadn’t collected it in the first place? Rather than make the case for getting rid of regulators, you have made the case for a vigilant press.

Hahahaha! Touché! This article boils down to “Why Isn’t The Gub’ment Doing More?” To be followed by tomorrow’s article “Let’s Reduce Government So We Can Drown It In The Bathtub.”

Republicans: the party of schizophrenics everywhere.

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
10:56 am

Aquagirl…..Democrats: the party of moochers, beggers and theives.

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
10:57 am

“by Republican led governments in both cases.”

Yeah, that’s it.

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
10:58 am

“Republicans: the party of schizophrenics everywhere.”

There’s your sign.

Somali Republican

January 23rd, 2012
11:00 am

Regulation cannot help you get rich. You only get rich by taking what you want. Our Pirate jobs program proves that the free market works.

Bart Abel

January 23rd, 2012
11:01 am

This piece reminds me of the Bush administration. Republicans claim government doesn’t work. Then when they’re in charge, they hire and appoint anti-regulation incompetents who either don’t know how or don’t care to enforce the law. Then when these incompetents inevitably screw up, the Republican response is, “See? We told you regulation doesn’t work.”

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:04 am

Bart…because it doesnt.

Aquagirl

January 23rd, 2012
11:14 am

Democrats:the party of moochers, beggers and theives(sic)

ORLY? Let’s look at part of Kyle’s pet peeve of the day, Georgia’s Child Care Services, which licenses child care workers. The 2011 budget was $7,832,597. Out of that, 6,642,746 was FEDERAL funding.

Sounds like our thoroughly Republican government isn’t doing enough leeching for Kyle’s taste.

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:17 am

Aquagirl…..thoroughly republican government…hmmmm and all this time I thought Hussein was a Democrat….Who knew?!?!

HDB

January 23rd, 2012
11:19 am

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
10:26 am

….and in the Bush Years, when government allows the free market to run amok…..the market COLLAPSES…because it CAN NOT POLICE ITSELF!! Republicans: the party of moochers, beggers and thieves…better known as market subsidies, unbridled tax breaks, offshore tax havens…..

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:22 am

HDB…..TYPICAL democrat response “in the bush years”…..I hope and pray Obama says the words during a debate! Please do it!

JF McNamara

January 23rd, 2012
11:23 am

My wife and I had no problems finding information about our daycares. We eliminated daycares based on the reports, and we also did our own inspection. We thought the process was good if you do the research.

The recent financial meltdown was a result of NO regulation, not over regulation. There was NO regulation of credit default swaps, and any attempt to regulate them was shot down by Republicans. Glass Steagall eliminated many of the regulations on investment banks allowing them to merge with commerical banks and run up their leverage ratios. That’s what caused the real problem.

We couldn’t allow the investment banks to go out of business because they would take down commercial banking because we removed Glass Steagall. If we had kept Glass Steagall in place, the failing of investment banks (or rating agencies) would not have mattered.

St Simons- island off the coast of New Somalia

January 23rd, 2012
11:25 am

Let’s see, cut the funding and enforcement of regulations,
then point to the regulations as the problem.

God, how do cons remember to eat food and breathe every day

Aquagirl

January 23rd, 2012
11:26 am

Aaaaand once again, UGA 1999 embarrasses his alma mater by thinking “Hussein” is running our state government.

Of course when you’re crouching in your trailer with a shotgun, everybody looks like one of them evil Revenooers a-comin’ to bust up your still.

that's goofy

January 23rd, 2012
11:27 am

Not a Republican / Democrat issue. Following the 1929 collapse regulation was put in place to protect against severe market shifts. Over the last 30-40 years those regulations were slowly removed. The idea that financial institutions is as absurd as believing children don’t require supervision.

Corporations operate in their own best interest with profit as the bottom line. The recent collapse and bail outs of Wall Street and banks is evidence.

that's goofy

January 23rd, 2012
11:31 am

UGA1999 : “More Regulation = Germany 1942″

Is that an automatic response anytime the government is involved? Is it possible there can be government regulation without the US turning in to Nazi Germany? We have the Patriot Act and as far as I know we are still a democracy.

HDB

January 23rd, 2012
11:32 am

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:22 am

FACTUAL response “in the bush years”…..

The more you attempt to marginalize it doesn’t erase the fact that the actions of each Administration will be based on the preceeding Administration….and the Bush Administration was the FIRST to finance a war (let alone TWO!) on BORROWED money….and presided over the near-collapse of the American economy!! When you put anti-regulation personnel in the government…which causes enforcement to decline….and then the economy collapses because of LACK OF ENFORCEMENT…it’s obvious as to whom should get the blame….the person who PUT THEM IN THE POSITION!!

“You’re doing a nice job, Brownie………”

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

HDB…so if you are going to hold Bush accountable for the Obama years then….Bush senior should get credit for the Clinton years?

How about Dodd / Frank….did they share in any responsiblity?

jconservative

January 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

“Would you want the government tell your business how to operate?”

Would you want the government to tell your daughter how to live her life?

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:36 am

Jconservative….if it meant protecting my grandson/granddaughter….YES…..

She would have MUCH better morals than to kill an innocent baby!

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
11:41 am

“and in the Bush Years, when government allows the free market to run amok…..the market COLLAPSES”

Fannie and Freddie. Both run by ex-Democrat senators.

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
11:42 am

“The more you attempt to marginalize”

You do this on an hourly basis, HDB.

JDW

January 23rd, 2012
11:42 am

@UGA 1999…”republican led governments in both cases”? Rose colored lenses eh?”

They weren’t? Facts are facts, face them.

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
11:42 am

“We have the Patriot Act and as far as I know we are still a democracy.”

???????????

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
11:43 am

“They weren’t? Facts are facts, face them.”

Keep whining like a little girl, JDW.

Aquagirl

January 23rd, 2012
11:45 am

How about Dodd / Frank….did they share in any responsiblity?(sic)

Dodd/Frank? I thought Hussein was responsible for everything. Make up your mind, son.

Puck

January 23rd, 2012
11:46 am

So, say the government did what you wanted and either closed or posted the warnings about all of these day care centers. You will find yourself with a bunch of parents who either have no place to put their kids (in the cases where the daycare centers were closed) or scrambling to find new daycare center (after they pulled their kids out of the one with bad reviews). The end result? An awful lot of people missing work because they no longer have a place to drop off their kids, which would make a lot businesses very unhappy.

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:47 am

Aquagirl….He is! They were just contributors to the mess.

HDB

January 23rd, 2012
11:49 am

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
11:42 am

Conservatives tend to marginalize MY experience more than I do yours…….. and that is on an hourly basis — done DAILY!!
I’m not the one supporting discriminating legislation……..as most conservatives are doing!!

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

Clinton corrected the Bush shortcomings……but if you wish to start looking at blame, I’d start with Phil Gramm……Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which repealed Glass-Stegall…….one of Clinton’s biggest mistakes was SIGNING that bill….but it was a REPUBLICAN idea….and look where it got us!!!

Inside Out

January 23rd, 2012
11:56 am

“She would have MUCH better morals”

Kinda like your Boy Newt, huh UGA????

Aquagirl

January 23rd, 2012
11:58 am

They were just contributors to the mess.

Along with Roy Barnes, no doubt.

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
12:07 pm

Inside Out —-YEP!

UGA 1999

January 23rd, 2012
12:07 pm

Aquagirl….Tell me how Roy Barnes contributed to the housing mess.

Matt

January 23rd, 2012
12:11 pm

Kyle – I’m sure you are wrong.

“Yet, the state did not publicly release the reports detailing these businesses’ shortcomings.”

http://decal.ga.gov/ProviderSearch/SiteSearch.aspx?childcare=y&newsearch=y

The state agency that regulates child care puts every detailed inspection report on its website. I’ve used them myself. What apparently isn’t provided is the final designation of compliant vs. non-compliant, which has been used for one year. I would rather see the details myself.

Somewhere over there

January 23rd, 2012
12:11 pm

“Conservatives tend to marginalize MY experience more than I do yours”

Stop lying.