If you've got something to hide in Washington, the best place to bury it is in the federal budget. The spending plan that President Bush submitted to Congress this year contains 2,000 pages that outline funding to safeguard the environment, protect workers from injury and death, crack down on securities fraud and ensure the safety of prescription drugs. But almost unnoticed in the budget, tucked away in a single paragraph, is a provision that could make every one of those protections a thing of the past.Bush did something similar in Texas. The commissions were made up of people opposed to the agencies that regulated them; astonishingly they eliminated their enemies. The annoying thing is no so much that Bush wants to return America to the pre (Teddy) Roosevelt era, but rather that he's so sneaky and underhanded about how he operates.
The proposal, spelled out in three short sentences, would give the president the power to appoint an eight-member panel called the "Sunset Commission," which would systematically review federal programs every ten years and decide whether they should be eliminated. Any programs that are not "producing results," in the eyes of the commission, would "automatically terminate unless the Congress took action to continue them."
The Bush method relies upon a supine or dysfunctional media, a media more focused on crowd pleasing side-shows than on radical transformations of government. By hook or by crook (or both), Bush has the media he needs. This administration has mastered the fundamental art of magic -- distracting with the right hand while the left hand does the real work.
Well, the ten people who read this blog, and the thirty that read Rolling Stone, now know. I doubt any voted for Bush.
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