Feel free to copy (and edit them) for your own locations. (Please add a comment to this blog entry, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you use one.)
I believe a significant short coming of Democratic politics is the failure to affect the focus and language of political discussion. I'm aiming to make the letters succinct with easy to grasp concepts.
To The Editor:
We Need Effective Checks and Balances
"Oh, They built the ship Titanic,
That sailed the ocean blue,
And they thought they had a ship,
That the water would never go through"
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast."
Reasonable people can disagree as to how much industry and commerce should be regulated.
For the past 30 years or so, the anti-regulatory ideology has been firmly in control.
Two years ago, the largely deregulated banking industry almost took our country's economy down.
Today, the size and impact of the Gulf oil spill is yet to be known, but we do know isn't going to be minor.
Oil drilling has been accorded a large degree of "voluntary self-regulation" in lieu of legally binding regulation, and has enjoyed permissive attitude from Republican appointed regulators:
"Until now, serious spills [have been] rare. [We thought] Catastrophic accidents had been relegated to history by such gear as “blowout preventers” designed to shut off wells when pressures get out of control.
Blowout valves are the last line of defense. The federal Minerals Management Service (MMS), which regulates offshore oil and gas production has been so confident of this system that it exempted BP from filing an environmental-impact statement."
The MMS commissioned has studied creative ways to cope with massive well blowouts but has never implemented them. It promulgated rules but allowed the oil industry to obey them on a voluntary basis.
It is becoming ever more clear that the regulatory pendulum has to swing back from the decades of the laissez faire, hands off posture promoted (through multiple millions in lobbyist spending) by large commercial interests.
Our Founding Fathers gave us the system of checks and balances on the then-existing centers of power in our nation: the three branches of government. There was no big business then.
I believe we our nation was founded on the principle of checks and balances, and we need effective checks and balances to prevent damaging excesses by powerful groups which have arisen long after the drafters of the Constitution laid down their pens.