Bush Administration squashes workers rights throught tort deforms
The latest in a series of efforts by the Bush Administration to leave a lasting mark--or perhaps "scar" is a more appropriate term--on the face of legal protections for Americans is a new rule on regulation of toxic substances in the workplace. From the New York Times:
The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.
The rule, which has strong support from business groups, says that in assessing the risk from a particular substance, federal agencies should gather and analyze “industry-by-industry evidence” of employees’ exposure to it during their working lives. The proposal would, in many cases, add a step to the lengthy process of developing standards to protect workers’ health.
As the Times explains, it's not like Obama could just reverse this regulation once he takes office, which is why these last minute regulatory rules are so troubling:
A new president can unilaterally reverse executive orders issued by his predecessors, as Mr. Bush and President Bill Clinton did in selected cases. But it is much more difficult for a new president to revoke or alter final regulations put in place by a predecessor. A new administration must solicit public comment and supply “a reasoned analysis” for such changes, as if it were issuing a new rule, the Supreme Court has said.
Hmmm.... I'm sensing a theme here. America focuses on the Obama transition, while President Bush focuses on pushing the corporatist agenda as hard as he can while there's still time.