Perhaps not since Jimmy Carter was President has the country experienced such a loss of confidence in government to address problems of national concern. Government has become incapable of addressing deep social problems, whether they be on Wall Street or in the Gulf of Mexico.
The right wing would have us believe this crisis is the result of having a big federal government. I disagree. The reason is that we have a weak federal government.
The government’s current disrepair comes about as a result of a generation of deregulation– the culture of which culminated with the co-presidency of Dick Cheney. Yea. I am blaming the current malaise on Dick Cheney.
During the 2000s, Cheney removed the teeth of government regulators, making it impossible for government to do the job it is supposed to do. Cheney removed Clinton administration regulators and replaced them with lobbyists and executives from industry. By privatizing government regulators, decisions were made with one thing in mind: profit to shareholders, not the public interest.
So, when the BP oil spill occurs, the governments response seems ineffectual because regulators from MMS, the Interior and Energy departments are industry apologists whose interests are not tied to the local Gulf state economies, and whose careers are not bound by the fate of the people living and suffering in this region of the country.
Part of Cheney’s evil genius was to move industry political appointees into civil service positions before Bush-Cheney left office. This shift makes it extremely difficult for Obama’s team to identify, roots out and then remove for cause these public officials hidden throughout the federal bureaucracy. Cheney sabotaged the federal government by employing large numbers of persons whose commitment to deregulation undermines the basic functions of government.
And now his daughter criticizes the federal government for incompetence, the next stage in his nihilistic neoliberal plan, which ostensibly lessens public trust in government and further the Cheney’s political tea bagging agenda.