Boehner eyes a return to failed regulatory policies

BOEHNER EYES A RETURN TO FAILED REGULATORY POLICIES…. One of the more commonly overlooked failures of the Bush/Cheney era was in the area of regulatory policy. Specifically, the administration didn’t believe in it.

From Wall Street to the oil companies, workplace safety to E. coli, EPA to SEC, the agencies tasked with protecting workers and consumers by regulating business practices were gutted. Budgets were slashed, scientists were muted, personnel were cut, and enforcement was stopped. President Obama has begun a large-scale effort to put things right, making the kind of changes that have an enormous impact on the public good, but which voters are largely unaware of.

Whereas Republican administrations deliberately stunted federal regulatory power — business interests always trumped consumer interests — Obama is taking positive steps to emphasize strong federal oversight, and evidence-based analysis, with the public’s interests in mind.

Congressional Republicans saw the ways in which Bush’s approach failed the public miserably, but nevertheless want to bring those days back as quickly as possible.

As promised, House Minority Leader John Boehner, along with Reps. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), huddled this morning with representatives of the most powerful conservative business and trade groups in the country to field policy ideas and build a legislative agenda ahead of the November elections, when Republicans could retake the House. If what they discussed in any way resembles the coming GOP platform (and, of course, it does), then get ready for more tax cuts and deregulation.

Dan Danner of the National Federation of Independent Businesses spoke up, outraged about “a whole host of new proposed regulations that are going to add costs to…business.”

A representative of the American Hotel and Lodging Association actually complained about workplace-safety laws being enforced — followed by complaints about those breaking the laws facing consequences.

Boehner took the next logical step, explicitly endorsing “a moratorium on new federal regulations.”

I suspect much of the country gives very little thought to regulatory issues, and wouldn’t necessarily recognize why this is radical and dangerous. I’ll just put it this way: if you love lead paint from China, you’ll love the Republican deregulation agenda.