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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who is to Blame

In his recent column, Mr. Jacoby tells us that regulatory rigor increased dramatically under the administration of George W. Bush (The blame for bloated economy, Boston Globe, November 19, 2008).

Among the data that he presents in support of this view is the fact that the number of regulators almost doubled to 264,000 from 2000 to 2008. But numbers do not tell the whole story. The question is whether they were effectively deployed.

There are enough clues to suggest that they were not. For some time, senior scientists at the FDA have been complaining that their scientific recommendations were being watered down or overruled by their political superiors. We have similar complaints at the Environmental Protection Agency. At the Justice Department we have seen a politicization of the non-political jobs.

In addition an enormous regulatory regimen has been established to monitor the activities of government officials and contractors in Iraq: a group of regulators with no influence or responsibility for actions in the United States.

Yes, there many be more regulators, but are they engaged in effective regulation? I think not because there is no political will to regulate.

Sent to the Boston Globe

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