Saturday, January 31, 2004

Who Needs Government Anyway?

Just Let Business Run Everything

The Republicans may have stumbled upon an excellent way to cut government spending -- just eliminate the middleman -- e.g. bureaucrats, or maybe entire government agencies. The Washington Post reports today that
The Bush administration proposed new rules yesterday regulating power plants' mercury pollution, and some of the language is similar to recommendations from two memos sent to federal officials by a law firm representing the utility industry.
"Similar," hell:
A side-by-side comparison of one of the three proposed rules and the memorandums prepared by Latham & Watkins -- one of Washington's premier corporate environmental law firms -- shows that at least a dozen paragraphs were lifted, sometimes verbatim, from the industry suggestions.
Now travel with me to Wall St. Journal world where we move from the tragic to the absurd. You may have heard about the growing scandal concerning Republican Senate staffers stealing confidential memos from the computer servers of Democratic staff. The WSJ is not upset about the theft, but they are SHOCKED about what the memos reveal: It seems that public interest groups are actually communicating with Democratic members of Congress about how they would like them to vote!

The Journal thinks this "astonishing" and "cynically partisan." No word on what they think about corporate lobbyists literally writing environmental regulations, but I'm sure they'd be outraged.

And anyway, stealing stuff is perfectly OK, according to the Journal, because the documents weren't sufficiently protected by passwords and firewalls:
The documents aren't classified and while leaking them may be political hardball, what is the definition of denying appellate judges a floor vote for the first time in U.S. history?
Well, only if you think American history started on January 20, 2001.