Health of the Republic down, 1% to 29%

The Health of the Republic bar has shifted downward another percentage point. This follows the promulgation of a presidential decree that gives the White House a greater say over the issuance of policy guidelines by agencies. Previously most such documents were crafted by civil servants but now, they must pass through a politically-appointed gatekeeper (a so-called regulatory policy office) before they can be issued. The clear intent is for Bush to “regain control” over rogue agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, which for some reason seems determined to ignore presidential philosophy and, you know, do its legally-mandated job.

Not surprisingly, the new policy — demanding an aggregate estimate of costs and the determination of a “market failure” before any new regulation is promoted — was hailed by financial backers of the Bush administration, primarily businesses who find it irksome that regulatory agencies actually regulate.

This is only a 1% drop because — believe it or not — this administration has done such other egregious damage to American freedoms, that this Kremlinesque gathering-in of economic control, in comparison, ranks as a relatively minor matter. How we lived in diminished times!

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