Sunday, January 07, 2007

You Don't Need to Know

In the wake of the faulty Firestone tires that lead to up to 250 fatalities, most of them involving Ford Explorers, in 2000 the Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Transportation, Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, which was intended to require vehicle and parts manufacturers to report all consumer complaints, warranty payments, and dealer's field reports that highlight injuries or deaths involving potentially defective products. The law, if implemented as Congress apparently intended, would require manufacturers to provide details of such incidents to the federal government, which would then make this information available to consumers, to the public. In the minds of many, that's a primary function of government.

Apparently that's a view not shared by the Bush Administration, which has spent six years now listening to objections from the auto industry and is now prepared to implement severely watered down regulation to "implement" the law. The watered down part is that, though government will continue to collect the data, it will not be released to the public because this information will be considered "trade secrets." There's nothing surprising about this, of course; it's just another maddening illustration of who Bush is in office to serve. It's not the people. It's the corporations.
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