By Joe Sims
Bush administration officials appear to be using their last days in office to rush through measures designed to aid big business to the detriment of workers – a clear heightening of the class warfare driven politics of the Republican right.
The lead story on the Washington Post this morning entitled US Rushes to Change Workplace Toxin Rules, details efforts by the Labor Department to make it “tougher to regulate workers' on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.” According to the Post, the attempt at rule changes were done in secret.
If implemented the measures would benefit big business profits. “The change would address long-standing complaints from businesses that the government overestimates the risk posed by job exposure to chemicals.”
Today's revelation of the machinations of the Labor Department was preceded by a report yesterday from Thinkprogress.com that the White House attempted to redefine carbon dioxide to protect power plants from emission regulation. Yesterday's blog by Setyam writes that “Earlier this month, former EPA official Jason Burnett wrote to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) with explosive revelations on how the White House has neutered climate change science to protect corporate interests. For example, OMB general counsel Jeffrey Rosen asked for multiple memos on whether carbon dioxide (CO2) from cars and plants could be regulated differently.”
In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Burnett added to the story describing how officials attempted to determine if CO2 from plants could be differentiated from emissions coming from cars.
In still another sign of the unmitigated pro businesses anything-goes-drive of the lame duck administration the PWW online daily writes that “In an unlikely team-up, impartial investigators from the Government Accountability Office joined a low-income workers’ advocate at Congressional hearings July 15 to tell lawmakers that President Bush’s Labor Department has failed to enforce minimum wage and overtime laws and that low-wage workers are routinely being robbed of their earnings”
It's raw class warfare time in Washington.