Friday, October 31, 2008

On Their Way Out the Door

While everyone is, shall we say, a little distracted, the Bush administration (yes, Bush is still President) is busy ramming through one last round of deregulatory rules. The proposed new rules would weaken regulation on consumer protection, the environment, and other issues.

Sheesh. It's not as though the Democrats were any better on this -- the Clinton administration tried to ram through a whole bunch of rules right at the end too -- but it's more than a little shady. Of course the next administration can undo rules, but it's cumbersome. Once an administrative agency adopts rules through a rulemaking process, it usually takes the same process to undo those rules. And while the rulemaking process is supposed to be fairly straightforward -- just propose the rules, receive public comment, and then announce your final decision -- in practice so many requirements have accreted onto the rulemaking process that it has become rather ossified. It's a big, complicated deal to do any rulemaking, even one that just undoes a previous rulemaking.

From the beginning, Bush has never cared much about public opinion. He's gone after divisive measures in a way that seems almost deliberate. One would hardly expect anything different now that he's immune to political reprisal. But it leaves a sour taste in one's mouth. This election can't happen fast enough.

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