Saturday, August 25, 2007

Not Interested in Governing, Redux

The current administration labors under the presumption that market forces can fix everything. Like, say, lead in toys from China.

Bush is "Soft on Lead"

“The overall philosophy is regulations are bad and they are too large a cost for industry, and the market will take care of it,” said Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMBWatch, a government watchdog group formed in 1983. “That’s been the philosophy of the Bush administration.”

Except that the market doesn't fix everything.

Alexa Engelman, a researcher at the Center for Environmental Health, said, “They knew this all along and they didn’t take action on it. It’s upsetting to me. Why are we, as a country, protecting the companies? We should be protecting the kids.”

Well, we should be, but the administration has a philosophical problem with government regulations. If that means more kids are exposed to more lead, well, it’s the market’s problem.

So, here's the country we live in: one where the people in charge of governing don't care to do so, don't think it's important, since, the market should be able to do it, and is never, ever, willing to change its mind on anything.

The presidency of George W Bush is waning and laming. The time has come to think about the future and when it comes to policies for US science and to the use of science in US policy, let's put it bluntly, pretty much anything will be an improvement.

Over the past seven years, Mr Bush has shown a disturbing unwillingness to change his mind or admit to errors of fact or judgment. So we are probably safe in assuming he will not significantly alter course on the leading science policy topics of the day - embryonic stem cell research and global warming.

In each case, Mr Bush made a policy decision back in 2001 based upon false, incomplete, or misleading information and has since fought a rearguard action to prevent either acknowledging these deceptions or their obvious implication - that the 2001 policies should be reversed.

We're going to be paying for these mistakes for a long, long time.