Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stopping the Midnight Giveaways

There has been entirely too much talk about Obama’s first 100 days in office, considering that he is still on his first full day. However, he has already done several things that will make a difference over the next few years. One of his first official actions was to freeze pending federal regulations so that they can all be reviewed. Some of these “midnight regulations” from the final days of the Bush administration doubtless contained unnecessary giveaways to specific industries. One rule that had drawn criticism was intended to prevent hospitals from firing workers who refused to work, if the work had anything to do with birth control. That would have created a bureaucratic mess for the already struggling health care sector, and it is hard to say who would have benefited. But it is the regulations we don’t know about that pose the greatest risk, and delaying them allows time for people to go over them, to make sure they are legal and are written in a way that will benefit the country as a whole.