Rollback: A Corporate Feeding Frenzy during Bush's Honeymoon
IT HAS BEEN A BUSY FIRST HUNDRED DAYS for the Bush administration.
Among the new administration's first acts was an across-the-board order by Bush's chief of staff and ex-automobile industry lobbyist Andrew Card to suspended a raft of new regulations adopted at the end of the Clinton administration, including important rules to protect the environment and workers.
In the ensuing three months, the administration managed to offend a wide array of constituents, including those concerned about:
* Worker Rights -- by repealing of the rule to protect against repetitive motion injuries -- the "ergonomics" rule; and barring project labor agreements, which ensure union and worker rights in complex construction projects.
* The Environment -- by pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, the international global warming treaty, and abandoning a promise to regulate emissions of CO2 from power plants; pulling back from new arsenic regulations; refusing to implement forest protection measures; undermining chemical plant safety rules; and weakening energy efficiency rules for air conditioning.
* Public health -- by potentially denying funding to the Justice Department to pursue its litigation against the tobacco industry; increasing public exposure to environmental hazards; proposing a weakening of a rule to protect children from salmonella, before retreating under pressure.
* Consumers -- by signing into law a bankruptcy bill that will deny effective bankruptcy protection to the poor; and refusing to cap interstate power prices, letting power producers continue their spectacular gouging of California consumers.
* Tax justice -- by proposing a massive tax cut heavily tilted to favor the rich and sure to starve the federal budget of monies for important programs.
* Corporate responsibility -- by initiating the repeal of the contractor responsibility rule, which would have empowered procurement officers to deny contracts to companies with a record of serious violation of worker, environmental, tax, antitrust, consumer protection and other laws. …