WASHINGTON — In a burst of rule-making, federal agencies have toughened or proposed new standards to protect Americans from tainted eggs, safeguard construction workers from crane accidents, prevent injuries from baby walkers and even protect polar bears from extinction.
Over the last year, the Obama administration has pressed forward on hundreds of new mandates, while also stepping up enforcement of rules by increasing the ranks of inspectors and imposing higher fines for violations.
A new age of regulation is well under way in Washington, a fact somewhat obscured by the high-profile debates over the health care overhaul and financial oversight system and by fresh calls for greater federal vigilance spurred by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the deaths of coal miners in West Virginia.
W. very famously let the foxes rule the henhouse for 8 years, putting people in charge of regulatory agencies who were either incompetent or who believed that government was incapable of protecting consumers without destroying the economy.
It is partly because of this extensive Bush Administration incompetence and neglect that movements like locavore-ism and homemade pet foods made headway in the aughts: people no longer felt like they could trust Kraft, Alpo, and even Earthbound Farms to provide safe products. As cool as local stuff sounds, I'm not sure I'd be buying locally made cat food, local, free range eggs and chicken, and organic, off-brand peanut butter if it weren't for e. coli and melamine.
Nice to have a president hiring people who do their jobs.