Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wonder Who Bush and Cheney Left Burrowed in the Food Regulation Bureaucracy

Molly Ivins used to say that if you really want to see the difference between Republicans and Democrats, look at food safety.  Republicans were in charge of the federal government for 8 years and now the Democrats for a little over two. In the game of staffing the federal bureaucracy, Obama has a long way to go to even undo the damage the Cheney administration did.

Like unemployment and food stamp use, a lot of what comes out of the government in terms of regulation is a kind of lagging indicator. So, yes, we are still seeing results of the Bush/Cheney administration.When you inherit a government that Bush/Cheney had de-fanged when it comes to regulatory prowess, what's a guy supposed to do?

With that in mind, this piece in the NY Times tells me that even a basic thing like food identification has become a difficult thing for the government to enforce. And with austerity becoming the buzzword in Washington, I don't expect Obama to be able to do much to reverse the damage any time soon. Even a lot of Democrats are suckling on the Big Ag teat, and it's hard to regulate businesses when they basically buy the politicians and write the laws.

I recently read about meat glue that they use to put pieces of lesser cuts together into a T-bone. There's all kinds of food safety horrors that evolved during lax regulatory years of Republican corporatocracy. Fits right in with the lax environmental regulation, financial regulation, and all the other things that government is supposed to do that Republicans would rather do away with.

These are things that happen because George W. Bush and Richard Cheney hated regulation and did everything they could to make sure the government either didn't do it, or did it badly. And the Bushistas had 8 years to put cronies in charge regulating their old frat buddies' businesses.

Generally speaking, Republicans are from rural areas that produce food and giant ag companies that want to slip shit past the consumer, and Democrats are from cities, where the consumers are. So, there's that.

The Bushies (i.e. Cheney) were especially adept at putting foxes in charge of hen houses, and then the industries that got helped hired the very people who helped them.

Some people even got left behind, so-called "burrowing" that Cheney was doing at the end of that nightmare.

Additionally, before leaving office, the Bush administration aggressively placed political appointees into permanent civil service positions as part of a process known as “burrowing.” Some of the burrowed former political appointees have close ties to Cheney, such as Jeffrey T. Salmon, who was a speechwriter for Cheney when he served as defense secretary. In July, he was named deputy director for resource management in the Energy Department’s Office of Science.

So, yeah, Cheney's dark forces really did a number on a lot of things like this, especially for energy companies. Remember, these are the boys that brought you everything from Enron to Iraq to most of the debt they're trying to blame on Obama.

Follow the money.

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