But you say, "the laws are better handled through other agencies..." Which ones and how is it better, exactly? If you devolve it to the states, we know that states 'compete' in part with a race to the bottom. Money concentrated in a few hands means it's easier to buy off local and state officials than Federal legislators from 50 states.Finally, those who wish to disband the EPA wish to do it because a) the necessary pollution laws are better handled through other agencies and b) the EPA has shown itself to relentlessly harmful to the well being and rights of many innocent Americans. You should not confuse hostility to a particular government entity to hostility to some or many of its supposed goals. I have no use for the Intelligence czar or the department of Homeland security, but it does not mean I am against intelligence and security.
And you state with some certainty that EPA has roved itself to be "relentlessly harmful to the well being and rights of innocent Americans" but don't have any way to prove that on any kind of net basis - that the net harm is positive. And you can't compare that to the alternative. Look at a country without EPA or its equivalent and get back to me with the environmental conditions of the water and air. Sure, there are victims of EPA, but there would be victims in any other possible scheme you can imagine or describe and the task is comparing those conditions, weighing the trade off.
If you've been to China or really any developing country, you'll skip them, or point out that its the corruption of a communist/dictatorial government. But the problem is in this country when we supposedly had property rights and all the rest, we had much of the same until we regulated pollution. There were many 'innocent victims' such as dead people and those with their property destroyed from unregulated pollution. You have to compare that era to the EPA world not some idealized perfect world with no victims.
And "free trade" means we encourage - demand really - that companies locate in a corrupt country to take advantage of being able to offload pollution and work place safety and all the rest to 1.5 billion people, and then ship those goods back here. We make it impossible for firms operating in an actual "free market" where costs are assigned to those imposing them to "compete."
But what "ought to be?" Are "free markets" a goal? Not for me. Economics is amoral and "free" markets are no more virtuous than regulated markets in my view. We weigh them based on results. And what "ought to be" depends on from whose perspective you look at the results. I don't see anything like a black and white answer to "what ought to be." Is what ought to be maximized GDP or profits? Or is what ought to be a decent living standard for the most Americans?You can't 'defend the trade-off' unless you have a normative view of what ought to be, and that, my friend, is a moral underpinning.