4.16.2008

Because the Planes Didn't Crash, it Really Didn't Matter

by Jeff Siegel

In the past year, the Bush administration's philosophy of governing — that we really don't need any government to govern — has produced dead pets, contaminated children's toys, wounded soldiers living in filth, toxic meat and vegetables in grocery stores, and an air transit system with planes that may not be safe.

Which leaves me with one question: Where is the outrage?

Where are the so-called liberal Democratic presidential candidates? Why aren't they denouncing any of this? Why haven't Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton ripped the Bush administration for cutting budgets, gutting regulatory authority, and letting businesses regulate themselves? All of this produced tragic results:

Estimates say thousands of dogs and cats may have died from eating contaminated food last spring. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was powerless to recall the deadly food, even after it knew it was killing the animals. All it could do was ask for a voluntary recall. (For more background on this, please see: "How the Media Massage the Pet Food Scare.")

Over the past year, millions of toys containing lead and made in China have been recalled. What's even more amazing is that federal regulators (in this case, the Consumer Product Safety Commission) have known about the hazards of lead for 50 years.

The Walter Reed scandal is despicable, and how the Bush administration has escaped responsibility is beyond me.

• This is the United States, not some third world country. So why have we had major recalls of beef, spinach, and green onions over the past two years? Again, the FDA, fast asleep on the job.

Last week's collapse of the air traffic system, caused by belated federal inspections, was equally as third world. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been coddling the airlines, said U.S. Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN).

This is no great surprise. The Bushies don't believe in regulation — never have, never will. And they have not pretended differently, as a presidential spokesman said in 2004: "The president's common-sense policies reflect the values of America, whether it is cracking down on corporate wrongdoing or eliminating burdensome regulations to create jobs.''

But do we hear this from the presidential candidates? Of course not. I realize this is becoming a sad refrain, but following the money explains why. In this election cycle, the airline industry has given more than one-half million dollars to federal candidates, and 56 percent of that money went to Democrats. I'd look up the other numbers, but I'm depressed enough already.

(Graphic from radicalgraphics.org, which offers its material for free.)













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