I’m taking a break from studying for law school finals to share something amazing I heard yesterday on NPR. According to one study, the Obama administration is sending more regulations into extinction than the President George W. Bush ever did.
The quest of my blog is to LEARN about this wildly out of control beast we call Politics. Through NPR’s story, titled Obama Office Alters More Federal Rules Than Bush, I learned about OIRA, the place where the regulation life cycle begins (and ends):
Health and safety regulations are not born fully formed. They have to run a long marathon first. Once an agency devises a rule proposal, whether to regulate air pollution or food safety, scientists and lawyers study the impact and cost of the rule. Agencies gather public comments. After a process that may take years, the regulation goes through one last gantlet in a place called OIRA (pronounced “oh-EYE-ra”). OIRA stands for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
While Republicans will argue that President Obama’s goal in life is to stifle job creation through unfriendly business regulations, studies show that this is just not true. Rena Steinzor, President of the Center for Progressive Reform argues that ” this president is watering down or undoing a greater percentage of proposed regulations than his predecessor did.” You can find empirical evidence to support this claim here: Reform Study.
Why is this important for my (and your) quest to better understand Politics? Well as my germinating political understanding grows I’ve come to distinguish political parties in this way: Democrats = More Government, while Republicans = Less Government. However, I’m realizing this oversimplification may not be serving me, especially when considering CPR’s study.
NPR’s Ari Shapiro explains: “Obama always emphasizes the need to strike a balance, saying rules that don’t make sense should die, while others are important.”
This illuminates something I’ve encountered while working in food manufacturing. The FDA allows a fairly lengthy comment period, wherein businesses have an opportunity to explain why a regulation may not make sense. The Government, while trying to protect people from food borne illness, realizes that a substantial burden might result for the food manufacturing sector and so allows businesses to provide alternatives during this time frame. The comment period can be reopened any time. For example, in August, the FDA asked for insight into its proposed regulations about “gluten-free” labeling.
Just yesterday I was telling my hubby, “If I were to run for office my tag line would be: “Smart Government.” We need government regulation that’s smart, cost effective, and weighs the needs of big business against the safety of those outside of it.
After all, someone’s got to ask the hard questions. We’d probably all agree that wheelchair access is a good thing and that endangered sea turtles should sparred where possible. But few want to answer the question of how much is too much to spend in furtherance of these agendas or requirements. For example, who’s going to decide how much a contractor must spend to be sure that wheelchairs can make it safely into your new neighborhood Chipotle? Should we leave that up to Chipotle or a federally run department like OIRA?
The article concluded: These are questions that nobody is comfortable asking. So perhaps it should be no surprise that few people are happy with [the] answers.”
I’ve taken a break from dissecting Michele Bachmann’s campaign emails because in reading just a few I’ve learned something that many of you probably have known all along: Michele Backmann has about as much chance as becoming the next president of the United States as I do.
In a strange way this makes me sad. It makes me sad for women, because I truly believe that a substantive female presidential candidate could inspire more to get involved thereby leading to a better representation of women in local, state, and national Politics. BUT, unfortunately wildly right-wing women like Michele Bachmann and fame hungry Sarah Palin get all the attention! As a nation we’re still too interested in exploiting the emotionally and psychologically unstable train wrecks that have become the mascots for our nation’s women in politics. Was Sarah Palin really considering a run in 2012 or has she already gotten what she wanted? Sarah Palin’s Alaska had decent ratings after all. I wonder what Michele’s show will be called? Husband Knows Best, perhaps? While Sarah Palin’s train flew off the tracks long ago, Michele Bachmann’s campaign is now uncomfortably close to irreparable public relations disaster. Michele’s NH staffers released an official statement Monday saying they had had enough.
Yahoo reported that:
The five former staffers said they hold no ill will toward the Minnesota congresswoman, but they could not continue working for her because her national campaign team had been “rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel” to them and “abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive” of the state’s voters.
This official statement came directly from a press release prepared on behalf of the staffers. However, reading further it becomes clear that the staffers issue wasn’t with Michele exactly, but with her team. The yahoo article continued:
“It saddens this team to see a dedicated patriot — a person so desperately needed in the White House — sequestered behind a wall of pretense, guarded by political operatives consumed by their own egos,” the group wrote.”
Yet, some might argue as I’m about to, that if Michele cannot control her “political operatives” instead of letting them control her, how the HELL can she possibly guide the world’s most powerful nation out of the worst economic crisis in 50 years? If she cannot make good with a few disgruntled staffers, how the HELL will she be able to effectively babysit the toddlers known as Congress? Or negotiate peace in the Middle East? But most importantly, how will Michele Bachmann prove that all politician’s aren’t just corporate puppets being pulled by the strings of greed and power, as Occupy Wall Street would suggest?
The answer to those questions is what I’m sure you’ve known all along: She can’t and won’t. I will still continue to read her campaign emails, and I may even keep the porch light on for any nuggets of wisdom, truth, or signs of Michele Bachmann’s intelligence that just happen to show up on my doorstep. The GOP candidate hasn’t been chosen yet after all, and I’ll admit it, Michele Bachmann news is VERY entertaining – Corndog anyone?
Today while perusing Twitter hastags, I stumbled upon a well written article by Pat Garafalo of Thinkprogress.org titled Michele Bachmann’s latest job creation idea: Less Food Regulation. More Ecoli. Pat, by your title alone I think we know where you’re headed.
Having worked in food manufacturing for the last two years, I can thank the government for my job. I help the company I work for comply with local and federal regulations in the production of safe, quality food products. While I have been consistently impressed with my current employer’s food safety diligence, I can tell you that many companies greet new regulations with resistance, annoyance and fear.
In a perfect world, the food industry would police itself, but unfortunately that just hasn’t been the case historically. The nature of the food business, and any business for that matter, is to provide products at the lowest possible price to obtain the highest possible profit. Is safety a factor? Yes. Is quality a factor? Absolutely. But in reality most manufacturers, across industries, only do what they absolutely must do in order to comply.
The recent Food Safety Modernization for example will REQUIRE all food manufacturers to have a HACCP plan. A HACCP plan is a system wherein a facility analyzes areas across their production process that may make the product they produce vulnerable to food borne illness or other adulteration.
Wouldn’t you think that a food industry that “polices itself” would have thought to institute HACCP plans on their own, without the government telling them they have to? Afterall, HACCP methodologies, according to Purdue University have been proven to reduce food safety incidents.
Luckily, this won’t be a problem for the operation I work for, since we’ve had a HACCP plan for many years. It will, however, force other sectors of the food industry to HIRE educated and professional employees with legal, administrative, and food safety backgrounds to help create and implement HACCP plans. In essence, it WILL force companies to create jobs – jobs like mine. The downside, however, is that it will also require the government to hire more employees to enforce this regulation therefore requiring a revenue stream from somewhere (perhaps we cut back on defense spending?). These jobs, both in the private and public sector, should result in safer food, which will ultimately cost tax payers LESS money in the long run. And as Pat Garafalo’s article points out:
“At the moment, one out of six Americans suffers from a foodborne illness every year, with 128,000 of those resulting in hospitalization. Ultimately, 3,000 people die from foodborne illness annually, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Georgetown University’s Produce Safety Project has found that foodborne illness costs the U.S. $152 billion each year.”
It’s as if Michele Bachmann read my last post and shaped this week’s campaign email just for me! She’s shed new light on how the Constitution has helped build her beliefs. Thanks Michele! BUT, overall I think she has WAY too much faith in the American people. See my commentary interlaced below.
|SAVE THE DRAMA FOR OBAMA!!!!|
“Dear Stephanie,” her campaign email begins….”Despite the Democrats sinking poll numbers, Barack Obama and the tax-and-spend Democrats in Washington refuse to stop deficit spending. In fact, the President repeatedly goes on national television to call for higher taxes on you and your family so he can increase spending!”
Um Michele I think you may be misrepresenting what he ACTUALLY wants to do. According to the speech I listened to this morning, Obama wants to close tax loopholes and yes, raise taxes, but on a very small percentage of Americans – those who make millions each year. Taxes are never ideal for anyone, but I have it on good authority that as President of the United States of America he’s privy to all sorts of financial info of which you have NO CLUE Michele. So if the man says we need revenue even after cutting $1 trillion from the budget, I tend to believe he just might be onto something. Obama doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who seems hell-bent on spending tax payer’s money to put a monument up in his name. And let’s be real here: those that make $1 million a year make up a very small percentage of our country, and an even smaller percentage of the people actually reading your campaign emails Michele. This ”you and your family” that you addressed in your message was not intended for the millionaires among them. Admit it Michele you were trying to be sneaky! You were trying to make it sound like Obama was after average American’s paychecks. Naughty, naughty…. But don’t worry, I don’t judge. All is fair when you’re trying to misle votes away from the current President.
Michele continues: “As the next President of the Unites States, I pledge to always fight for taxpayers first and remain true to the Founders’ limited government, pro-freedom vision. I pledge to faithfully adhere to the letter (That’s a tall order for someone who opposes gay marriage. FYI – The Constitution affords ALL people EQUAL protection of the laws.) and spirit of the Constitution, a limiting document that reminds us all that the true political power lies with “We the People”. After all, the American people know how to spend their money better than government!”
Michele you must see a very different America than the one I see. Who can we blame for the Subprime Mortgage Crisis? Ever increasing Bankruptcy Rates? Flat Screen TVs in the poorest households (the price of one flat screen TV could pay for an entire semester at a community college in many states)? Who’s to blame for all this irresponsibility: The AMERICAN PEOPLE! While it’s true that legislation plays SOME part, let’s not put the cart before the elephant. Now, carrying debt, cart loads of it, IS the American way. I might as well be a scaled down model of America. Am I proud of the massive credit card debt I accumulated in college, or the depressing mortgage size student loans, or the staggering overpriced car payment? Nope. But like most Americans I just assumed that things would get better; That the six figure salary was soon to follow my liberal arts degree (if I only knew then what I know now! I should’ve studied finance! Then maybe I too would get a bailout (yes, we CAN blaim Obama for that one! But that’s a discussion for another time).
My point: As smart as I like to think I am, I too was enticed by the play now, pay later culture of our country. Like everyone else I’m learning my lesson (finally have those cards paid off), but like everyone else I’ve still got a lot to learn. BUT there is ONE thing I know for sure: most of the American people you speak of Michele are far more messed up financially then I’ll ever be. So that’s not saying much at all for your vision of how our country’s finances should be run. Nevermind the intellectual, emotional, and physical health our nation as seen through the lives of “the American people.” Don’t even get me started on obesity or education. If we leave spending up to your American people, we’re totally screwed.
I signed up to receive emails from Michelle Bachmann’s campaign. I figured this could be a good way to learn about her strategy, personality, and approach to the “issues.” See my “commentary” interlaced below.
|“To have innocent little
12-year old girls be forced
to have a government injection through an executive order
is just flat out wrong.”
If you watched tonight’s Republican debate, you saw Rick Perry defend his decision to mandate a vaccine for young girls through an executive order while he was governor of Texas. As a mother, I have raised three biological daughters and 23 foster daughters, and I believe taking away a parents right to direct the health care of their children is flat out wrong . It’s a violation of liberty and everything you and I stand for. Well when you put it that way Michele….
Tonight, I also questioned why Governor Perry made this executive order. When you look at the facts, the question becomes, is this about life or is this about millions and potentially billions for the drug company? I feel a finger in the side of the Perry campaign ready to POKE.
We cannot forget that in the midst of the executive order, a big drug company made millions of dollars because of this mandate - That’s right, vaccines DO cost money. This drug company’s PAC made thousands of dollars in political donations to Governor Perry, and his own former Chief of Staff was working as the lobbyist for this drug company when he issued the mandate. This is flat out wrong. Score one for Michele! If this is true, why I ought ta! Darn you Perry for protecting millions of girls from Cervical Cancer! Darn you!
Governor Perry says if given the option again he would not issue the mandate. Why I wonder? I’ll have to look into that. However, as President of the United States there are no mulligans; there are no do-overs.
I am also concerned that Governor Perry also supports giving subsidies to illegal immigrants. The American way is not to give taxpayer-subsidized benefits to people who have broken the law and are here illegally. That is not the American way. What is this “American Way” you reference? Awe how the political rhetoric packs a punch. Next thing you know she’ll be calling vaccinations “Un-American.”
I believe it is going to take a strong constitutional conservative to defeat Barack Obama. Our constitutional conservative values must guide our actions for solving America’s challenges. And if these values are not represented in the White House, we are in for four more years of the same policies that have led our country in the wrong direction. “Constitutional Conservative” – yet another contrived political buzzword to enchant the ignorant reader. Having just finished Contitutional Law, I have profound respect for the foresight of our founding fathers and those who improved their vision through amendments in the years that followed. HOWEVER – this term misrepresents the purpose of the Constitution in my opinion. While it IS supposed to be the supreme law of the land, so much is left to US about how the nuts and bolts management needs of a large and dynamic and currently troubled country such as ours. Relying solely on the Constitution, a document written hundreds of years ago (with the acception of the amendments of course) by the white anglo men in power at a time so different from ours that it might as well be a different planet, is NOT a solid stand on which to hang your political hat Michele. To me, it sounds like you wave the red word “Constitution” in front of our eyes to hypnotize. Most Americans have not even read the Constitution and if they have probably do not understand it. After a semester, I’m still unsure of the many many issues and Supreme Court decisions that have sprung from forth from the Constitution you speak of. So tell me Michele, what is a “Constitutional Conservative” to you?
Our nation’s challenges are have (typo) reached a critical point. And we cannot risk electing a Republican nominee to face Barack Obama who doesn’t get it right the first time. The stakes are too high. The current polling of Republican voters show we are (typo) endanger of sending a candidate who does not adhere to our shared values to face Barack Obama in the general election. There are a number of candidates who say they are “members of the Tea Party,” but their records of policy and action do not reflect Tea Party values. “Tea Party Values” – oh dear, what could these possibly be?
As conservatives, it is our charge to make Barack Obama a one-term President. I know that I am the only candidate in this race who can not only defeat Barack Obama, but who will adhere to constitutional conservative values as President.
I need to know you stand with me today, and ask that you make a special emergency donation of $25, $50, $100 or more.
We need to defeat Barack Obama, and you can help me do this by joining my campaign right now with a generous contribution. My opponents are raising money hand-over-fist from donors with deep pockets. My campaign relies on the generosity of you- everyday men and women- to fund my campaign with small donations.
Your support is needed now more than ever if we are going to win this fight. Thank you for your generosity and God bless you and your family.
P.S. If we don’t join together and take action, we risk allowing a candidate who does not represent our values to go up against Barack Obama in the general election. Please take action today by following this link to make a generous contribution of any amount to help our campaign take on our opponents. Thank you.
I guess it wasn’t meant to be, that I could learn all there is to learn (in person) about the GOP. Please see the response to my request for ”press” credentials to the California Republican Convention. Guess they weren’t impressed with my outdated journalism award.
Hello Stephanie, Thank you for your press inquiry. Unfortunately, because of the demand for media credentials, we have restricted media access to traditionally credentialed media outlets only. If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to call me at 916-448-9496.
My best, Micah Grant
Communications Strategist California Republican Party
O: 916.448.9496 | Twitter: @alexigrant | FB: facebook.com/micahgranthttp://www.cagop.org
With only a few short weeks between now and the Republican Party’s Fall Convention I decided to try my luck at obtaining a “press pass” to this exciting event! While you may be doubting my press-like prowess, I assure you it’s in there. In 2003 I won an award from Hawaii’s Society of Professional Journalists! Since then I’ve grown braver, smarter, and more willing to ask those REALLY hard questions (like why hasn’t the Democratic party hopped on the female presidential candidate bandwagon!). See my (rather pathetic) attempt to obtain a press-pass below…
To Whom It May Concern:
While registered as an Independent, I’m determined to learn all that I can about our nation’s most powerful political parties BEFORE the 2012 election, while educating as many women as possible through my blog. Raised a Republican, my personal goal is to see what the party is about without my parents squawking in the background. While my blog is new, I did receive hundreds of views of my most recent post. My goal is to get the women of my generation excited and involved. Most, including me, are SO clueless.
Finally, I won a Society of Professional Journalists award in 2003.
Thank you for your consideration. A press pass would really help me get a better look at this event and how it represents what the Republican party can do for California and our nation.