Bill Berkowitz over at BuzzFlash has an article up on the consequences of Reagan's and Cheney's deregulation.
Reagan’s Legacy of Deregulation Goes Haywire in the Gulf
Submitted by BuzzFlash on Fri, 06/11/2010 - 4:38am. Guest Commentary
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH
"The oil spill in the Gulf is the product of decades of conservatives pounding for deregulation, Cheney-era manipulation of federal regulatory agencies, and corporate insatiability.
These days, when watching television news reports – often the extraordinary reporting of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow – about the environmental/economic catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf which took the lives of 11 workers, I can’t help but think of two seemingly disparate things; the administration of Ronald Reagan, and the 1953 coup in Iran.
I’m thinking about our 40th president because the genesis of corporations drilling for oil where-ever and how-ever without being distracted or deterred by common sense rules and regulations, although part of the economic landscape for decades, picked up steam during the Reagan era.
The 1953 coup in Iran, which overthrew the democratically-elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh, came about because the British government, which owned the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company -- more Anglo than Iranian in both ownership and control – helped engineer the coup. And, one year later, the British government renamed the company, the British Petroleum Company.
During the 1980 presidential campaign, the Heritage Foundation burst onto the national scene with the publication of “Mandate for Leadership,” a comprehensive set of policy recommendations which became the intellectual underpinning for the "Reagan Revolution." Heritage’s blueprint included trickle-down economics, a major emphasis on deregulation, and massive cutbacks in social programs."
Although economists – both those supportive of Reagan’s economic initiatives and those opposed – have for years debated how committed the Reagan Administration was to actually advancing deregulation, one thing is clear; under-funded or de-funded government regulatory agencies, government agencies larded with corporate-friendly officials receiving corporate perks and kickbacks, and such mantras as “unleash the creativity of corporations and all will be well” and “drown the government in a bathtub” have dominated conservative policy initiatives over the past three decades.
In a recent interview, Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and currently an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary, told the Real News Network that George W. Bush’s Administration, through the offices of vice president Dick Cheney, did all it could “to destroy about a half-century or more's regulatory work with regard to oversight of fisheries, forestry, oil, gas, minerals in general. You name it,” said Wilkerson. “If it was supervised, if it was overseen, if it was regulated by the federal government, Cheney with his marvelous bureaucratic talent moved in and essentially replaced the people who were in the positions that were central to this regulation, this oversight, with people who were either lobbyists for the industry being regulated or executives from that industry.”
And to echo a certain conservative's claim on his blog: "It's official, it's George Bush's fault!"
But it's also Reagan's and any other politician, Dem. or Rep., who helped to weaken regulations set in place to avoid this sort of disaster.