Preznit Bush continues efforts to create a self-sustaining cycle: make government ineffective, so conservatives can point out how bad government is, giving them increased leverage to chip away at the parts that do work. The latest:
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 presidentâ€™s priorities.
This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.
9:38 a.m. UPDATE â€” Ezra chimes in:
Unsurprisingly, business is just giddy over the idea; labor, environmental, and consumer groups somewhat less so. It’s a fine reminder, though, that we still have two years of the Bush presidency to go, and even while curtailed by the Democratic Congress, they’ll do much to entrench their corporatist vision and ensure the plants disgorging pollutants and and employers fostering potentially lethal work conditions need fear only their consciences, not the tangible aggregation of citizen power that’s supposed to govern their actions.