Monday, April 04, 2005

Big Government Republicans

Remember when Republicans used to advocate smaller government? You know - state’s rights, local control, and all that. Well all of that apparently went out of vogue about the time that Republicans began to realize the potential for pushing their agenda using their control of all branches of the federal government.

In an article titled “Big Government’s Changing Face” in today’s Wall Street Journal (page A4), this new Republican appreciation for big government is spelled out succintly and they note that it is not just the social conservatives - who want to control every aspect of our personal lives - who are happy about it.

Republicans are moving to expand Washington’s role ... in banking, insurance and telecommunications... The Bush administration and Congress are pushing federal regulation instead of state oversight - to the applause of business constituents who now consider that more efficient and less onerous than in the days of Democratic rule...
On regulation, some Republicans are working to please many business constituents who are important ideological and financial allies... In recent years, banks have pushed through changes in federal regulations that have preempted many state consumer safeguards...

Some other examples the article gives include:
* Federal legislation that would cap medical malpractice suits in state-court cases;
* So called “Clean Skies” legislation that would limit states’ authority over power-plant pollution and would set emission reduction standards that are considerably more lenient than are currently found in many states;
* A bill that would reduce states’ authority over electric grids and the siting of new power lines;
* Legislation that would limit and possibly eliminate states’ authority to regulate insurance companies
* Legislation that would weaken state consumer protections in small-business health insurance pool coverage.

So I don’t want to hear any more about how Republicans want to give power back to the people and reduce the control of big government. The real Republican agenda here is to serve the bidding of their corporate masters by whatever means are available. In the past, that was through state and local authorities, but today it can be accomplished using federal powers. So not much has changed. Consumers, workers and the environment are still at the mercy of big business and the bottom line, only now they can no longer look to the federal government for any kind of protection.

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