Sunday, January 04, 2004

The Year In Perspective

I have spent the last couple of weeks thinking about the top health and safety developments of 2003. With a few couple of exceptions (the NY Times series and the ergonomics boycot), it was a pretty depressing exercise. So why did I do it (aside from the fact that it's "that time of year")?

Memories fade, and with an election coming up, it's important that every working person in American remember what George Bush has done to our right to work in a safe workplace. He will continue to lie. It's our responsibility to remind people of the truth.

The New York Times is on to him. In recent weeks, we've seen the Bush administration attempting to catch up with regulatory failures by announcing new regulations to prevent Mad Cow Disease and ban Ephedra.

But, as even the NY Times recognizes, we're talking about window dressing:
And with mad cow disease suddenly dominating every cable channel and front page, Mr. Bush and a small clutch of his aides staring out at the cattle grazing his ranch knew they had to appear to be taking action. In this case, the action included some protective steps they rejected as unnecessary just months ago.
Remember, it's an election year
Those were not the kind of words heard from this administration in 2001. At that time there was a freeze on most Clinton-era regulations that were pending. Mr. Bush very publicly rejected the Kyoto protocol on global warming, and environmental regulations like the one that sharply restricted commercial activity in roadless areas of national forests.

But Kyoto is now regarded inside the White House as a good decision that was presented in the clumsiest possible way — opening Mr. Bush to accusations that he was a shill for big business. Soon, the White House began to sound a little less strident about regulation. After halting a Clinton-era regulation on acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water, Mr. Bush adopted those regulations.
[emphasis added]
Accusing Bush of being a shill for big business? I'm SHOCKED.

Bush's allies at the Heritage Foundation are doing everything they can to promote that myth of George Bush, activist President.
"As far as I can tell, he has not uttered the word `deregulation' since 2001," said James L. Gattuso, a research fellow in regulatory policy at the Heritage Foundation, who recently completed a study of regulation in the Bush era. "This stuff about the antiregulation president is a Howard Dean myth," he argued.
Howard Dean myth? Look at the list of health and safety developments last year. (And while you're at it, check out what Bush did to the environment as well. ) It doesn't take Howard Dean to know which way the wind's blowing.

Then go out and make these into major issues for 2004 campaign.