The New York Times has a story I find incredibly disturbing. According to the story, our beloved alleged president has signed a directive creating a “regulatory policy office” in each of the federal agencies, to be filled a political appointee whose job it will be “to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries” — in other words, to make sure that agency actions conform to Republican party dicta. The article continues:
The directive issued by Mr. Bush says that, in deciding whether to issue regulations, federal agencies must identify “the specific market failure” or problem that justifies government intervention.
Besides placing political appointees in charge of rule making, Mr. Bush said agencies must give the White House an opportunity to review “any significant guidance documents” before they are issued.
Simply put, it appears from this story that Duhbya is using a directive to increase his power unilaterally, installing apparatchiks to make sure that any new policies promulgated by federal agencies conform to his wishes, and allowing the White House to quash any guidance documents that it disagrees with. And requiring issuing agencies to identify “specific market failures” as a condition of issuing new regulations clearly subverts the will of Congress expressed through many existing laws relating to regulatory agencies — it may mean requiring time for the market to act, react, and fail to react appropriately before the regulatory agency can intervene. In the meantime, all sorts of things can go very, very wrong.
It will be interesting to see what the political fallout from this directive is.
Of course, I don’t know why I’m so surprised by this. After all, the shrub has already done more to subvert our Constitution than any president in history. What’s one more extraconstitutional action? Just put it on his tab.