Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Well then:
What is it about consumer protection that Republican lawmakers don't like? Is it that they want to see their constituents fleeced and flimflammed by businesses? Is it that they don't care?

Whatever the reason, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee has approved a spending bill that not only slashes the budget of the Consumer Product Safety Commission but also cuts off all funding for a recently launched database of product-safety complaints.

To be fair, I suspect much of it has to do with the cut-everything-and-cut-it-now attitude currently prevailing through Washington. $3 million may be utterly insignificant, but sometimes you have to show your constituents you care. (Otherwise, why would the open government initiatives be in danger despite a similar low cost?)

I mean, this seems like something everyone can get behind: liberals, for obvious reasons. But free marketeers too; after all, we’re told by free market people like Hayek that the market works best when it has information to make its decisions, and surely information about product safety is the kind of information the market would value. Or not. Who knows?

It’s actions like this that make Republicans look less like brave soldiers for conservatism and instead like brave mercenaries for corporate interests.

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