Osha Gray Davidson has a must-read investigation in Rolling Stone about the Bush administration's efforts to create, in a tiny paragraph buried way way down in its federal budget proposal, a "Sunset Commission." And what, pray tell, would this Sunset Commission do?
The proposal, spelled out in three short sentences, would give the president the power to appoint an eight-member panel called the "Sunset Commission," which would systematically review federal programs every ten years and decide whether they should be eliminated. Any programs that are not "producing results," in the eyes of the commission, would "automatically terminate unless the Congress took action to continue them."
Read the whole piece. If passed, these commissioners would very likely be lobbyists, who would happily strip away the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, etc. Bye-bye worker protections. Bye-bye highway safety commission. Bye-bye "But wait!," you cry. "Doesn't this violate the separation of powers!? Why should the executive branch be able to disintegrate agencies created by Congress? Surely the Supreme Court would knock this little measure down in a heartbeat." Ah, now we're starting to see what's at stake in the court battles. Contrary to the grand belief out there that the Democrats are opposing "people of faith," (yes, that's it, Dick Durbin, devout Catholic, is declaring a war on faith) the real problem is that nominees like Janice Brown would happily carry the administration's water over little anti-consumer, anti-worker moves like this.
By the way, I see today that President Bush is planning to extend his little Social Security privatization road-trip beyond its originally-allotted 60 days. Okay, well here we have a multi-million dollar federal program that not only doesn't produce results, but does the exact opposite of what it's intended to do: the more Americans hear about Bush's phase-out plan, the more they hate it. By all accounts, it's the worst-performing taxpayer-funded program in the history of this country, and in the name of small government, it should be terminated at once. Thrift starts at home, folks.