To the Editor:
The founders of America had it right. Effective government required a balance of power, not between two (the king and his subjects), but three (the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary), and by default, a fourth group — the government agencies needed to see that things are kept in balance.
This delicate balance has been thrown into disarray by the full-time efforts of big business (with their lobbying money) to influence legislation that protects their interests at the expense of the individual. Frustration, and a feeling of hopelessness, sets in with all of us. The Congress just can’t seem to ever get it right for those individuals who check the hire this guy or gal box when they vote to have someone represent them in Washington.
A couple of weeks ago, the unregulated hydrocarbon industry was almost successful in getting Senator Murkowski’s bill enacted into law that would have prevented the EPA from doing its court mandated job. Three years ago Big Coal went to court to try and get coal-fired power plants de-listed as sources of hazardous pollutants. In a scathing decision and rebuff, the courts said that the EPA acted unlawfully in removing coal-fired power plants from the list, and ordered the EPA to set rules, with an ample margin of safety, so that individuals would be protected from the hazardous pollutants released when coal is burned.
The Congress had three years to enact meaningful legislation so the EPA would not have to write rules and regulations. But, the Congress totally dropped the ball. This year, EPA was ready to issue rules that would protect the public from burning coal, but the Congress attempted to stop them. Luckily, Senator Murkowski’s proposed legislation (with the support of Senator Brown), that would have prevented the EPA from doing its court-ordered directive, failed.
The current financial bill, that the president will in all likelihood sign, has a provision in it that will prevent the courts from adjusting and protecting underwater homeowners from having to pay for the privilege of selling their home.
The financial industry has spent $35 million per month since the first of the year lobbying Congress to make sure the legislation protects them so they do not have to take a hit for any of problem they created by their unscrupulous mortgage lending practices. Once again, money talks and BS walks. The individual, not the institution, will take the hit
This current imbalance of trying to stop agencies from doing their job, and preventing financial institutions from being held accountable, can be put back in balance this coming November, by sending to the unemployment line, en masse, all incumbent members of Congress.