The United States government is getting pressured to regulate consumer and environmental safety standards across a number of industries by some very unlikely sources – the industries themselves.
Big industry has historically been on the side of the Republicans when it comes to regulating standards. They prefer a hands-off approach and would rather work within the elastic confines of “voluntary” regulations.
But cheap imports from countries that do not share these voluntary regulations has been making it impossible for American companies to compete while maintaining the minimal levels of safety for the environment and consumers.
As the New York Times reported today:
“For toys and cars, antifreeze and fireworks, popcorn and produce and cigarettes and light bulbs, among other products, industry groups or major manufacturers are calling for federal health, safety and environmental mandates. Some of those industries are abandoning years of efforts to block such measures, often in alliance with the Bush administration, which pledged to ease what it views as costly, unnecessary rules.”
Could it be that corporate interest ends up begging the government to police the situation because they can no longer survive in a state of anarchy where there is a constant race to the bottom? Could it be that decades of cutting corners on production, testing and distribution have brought us so close to the bottom already that industries are telling the government “We can’t stoop any lower. Our employees and customers wouldn’t put up with us treating the environment, our workers and our customers like they were in a third-world country. Something must be done to police us because we have failed to police ourselves.”
So much for liaise fair. That doctrine has had its chance and has failed. Miserably.