More Madness from King George

Our lunatic in chief has taken his most egregious step toward dictatorship yet – last week Chimpy signed an executive order requiring every federal agency to have a political appointee as gatekeeper to make sure that the agency is doing what he wants instead of well, their job of protecting the American people. Of [...]

Commentary By: somegirl

Our lunatic in chief has taken his most egregious step toward dictatorship yet – last week Chimpy signed an executive order requiring every federal agency to have a political appointee as gatekeeper to make sure that the agency is doing what he wants instead of well, their job of protecting the American people. Of course a cost/benefit analysis is the centerpiece of this ingeniously diabolical plan to gut federal regulations, and nothing gets out without his express approval, got it?

President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.

In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’™s priorities.

In addition, agencies will be required to show ‘œmarket failure’ for any policy they propose, adding a huge layer of bureaucracy using your taxdollars to ‘œprove’ that benevolent big business can do it better without your stinkin’™ rules, thank you very much. And of course it’™s a big fuck you to Congress.

Typically, agencies issue regulations under authority granted to them in laws enacted by Congress. In many cases, the statute does not say precisely what agencies should do, giving them considerable latitude in interpreting the law and developing regulations.

The directive issued by Mr. Bush says that, in deciding whether to issue regulations, federal agencies must identify ‘œthe specific market failure’ or problem that justifies government intervention.

I am sure the preznit will also fail to see the irony in needing to protect the poor poor big businesses at this time, when so many are making record profits – how dare that big bad government make them spend some of it following tiresome safety and environmental regulations. And what better way to make the conservative’™s beloved smaller government than by adding an additional layer of bureaucracy, beholden to dear leader.

BTW, this is a big story in the NYT this morning, but I haven’™t seen any other news outlet covering it yet. It doesn’™t even show up on the business pages of Google, CNN, Yahoo’¦guess we should just move along, and go shopping. I say this is madness – IMPEACH ALREADY!!!

Oy, An UPDATE already: Via Kevin Drum, it looks like this is one of Bushco’™s first initiatives under his new groundbreaking approach to dictatorship:

Bush is insisting that Congress get out of the CAFE business. Instead, the Bush administration itself will set future standards ‘œbased on cost/benefit analysis, using sound science, and without impacting safety.’ Pardon my cynicism, but this doesn’™t sound like a way of increasing CAFE standards. It sounds like a way of preempting a newly Democratic Congress from setting strict standards and instead allowing the administration to create toothless, industry-friendly rules with lots of loopholes. ‘œCost/benefit’ and ‘œsound science’ are movement conservative buzzwords that are usually pretty reliable indicators that the con is on.

Bush’™s plan is to switch from average fuel economy standards to ‘œattribute-based’ standards. That is, instead of a firm overall target, car manufacturers will have flexible targets for different vehicle classes, along with the ability to trade ‘œCAFE credits’ if they don’™t feel like meeting even those.

Yeah baby, the con is on!

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007 by Richard Blair |

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