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  • mojodiego mojodiego Mar 4, 2009 5:07 PM Flag

    To: ilap & btdt

    WASHINGTON: Six months into his presidency, George W. Bush is "quietly and steadily using the federal government's far-reaching regulatory authority to stamp his imprint on the American society, easing enforcement of many government rules," says the Wall Street Journal . He is "aided by a cadre of appointees who are skeptical of government regulation, if not hostile to it," WSJ notes. Bush, the Journal says, was easing enforcement of many government rules. The effects of the changes are beginning to reverberate throughout the nation's economy, among banks and hospitals, oil companies and telecommunications giants, employers with labour problems and companies seeking tax breaks. At the department of health and human resources, the environmental protection agency has frozen a probe of more than 100 energy companies suspected of violating the clean air act, after vice president Cheney questioned whether the law had been properly applied. The department of labour, says the paper, is shifting emphasis from prosecution of workplace violations to helping employers avoid violations in the first place. And just on August 2, treasury department officials moved to ease tax shelter regulations. In each case, the Journal notes, the approach of administration officials to regulatory policy represents a philosophical shift as sharp "as any occurring in the legislative arena." The effort, says the paper, seamlessly blends the philosophic bent and political self-interest of the nation's first president to hold an MBA (degree from Harvard). "Cheering on Bush's approach," says the business paper, "are the corporate executives who financed his presidential bid, helping raise a record-smashing $104 million for his primary campaign and $166 million in unregulated soft money donations to the Republican national committee." Most of his top financial backers come from businesses with huge stakes in regulatory shifts, including banking companies, utilities and health-care providers. For Republican donors and administration officials alike, says the Journal, regulatory rollback represents a major piece of unfinished business. President Reagan set out to tame regulations in the 1980s. And even George Bush, took a more moderate approach to regulatory issues, named his vice president, Dan Quayle, to head a White House "competitiveness council" designed to curtail the reach of rules. "What is different this time," says the paper, "is that the Republican administration - from top cabinet officials to second-tier appointees - is more uniformly conservative." The upshot: just as district attorneys decide which crimes to emphasise and how aggressively to enforce them, individual agencies are setting their own priorities. And they are heeding candidate Bush's pledge to give Americans more choices and fewer orders.

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