Bush is trying to do an end run around the newly elected Democratic Congress. Because we all know the American people spoke clearly in the last election, and they said, “We want to gut environmental and worker protection!” From the NY Times (italics mine):
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.
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.
The White House said the executive order was not meant to rein in any one agency. But business executives and consumer advocates said the administration was particularly concerned about rules and guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Even if you think some regulations need to be changed, here’s a simple question for you: after Katrina, Iraq, and runaway federal deficits, why would any sane person grant El Jefe Maximo more power? And why would any sane person listen to anything about science said by an administration led by someone who thinks we should ‘teach the [evolution] controversy?’ As Kevin Drum notes regarding fuel efficiency standards, what the Bush administration publicly declares is usually the exact opposite of what they end up doing. Between incompetence and insanity, there’s no excuse for granting these bozos more power.