“…A Field Day for Corporate Lobbyists…”

That’s how Congressman Henry Waxman describes a small provision in the budget bill that

…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 administration portrays the commission as a well-intentioned effort to make sure that federal agencies are actually doing their job. “We just think it makes sense,” says Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, which crafted the provision. “The goal isn’t to get rid of a program — it’s to make it work better.”

In practice, however, the commission would enable the Bush administration to achieve what Ronald Reagan only dreamed of: the end of government regulation as we know it. With a simple vote of five commissioners — many of them likely to be lobbyists and executives from major corporations currently subject to federal oversight — the president could terminate any program or agency he dislikes. No more Environmental Protection Agency. No more Food and Drug Administration. No more Securities and Exchange Commission.

Remember how Dubya said early in his first term that it would be much easier to rule as a dictator? He wasn’t just joshing with the boys, apparently. While I’m immediately concerned with environmental protections and sustainability initiatives (you know how much Dubya loves those), this, as the Rolling Stone article mentions, is a direct attack on the seperation of power and our constitutional system. Raise hell, folks — this one’s worth it!

Via Grist.

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