Washington, D.C. – Today the Center for American Progress released a new report by Reece Rushing, Director of Regulatory and Information Policy, detailing a progressive approach to safeguard the American people and its fragile infrastructure. The problems exposed in the last few weeks—from the Minnesota bridge collapse to the Utah mine disaster—reflect the hard-right conservative ideology that now permeates the entire executive branch. This ideology sees government principally as an instrument for advancing the interests of the corporate sector and by extension political allies who support this agenda. It is indifferent or even hostile to the common good—hence, the rampant cronyism and special-interest influence peddling of the Bush administration.
“The Bush administration has failed to safeguard the American people,” said Rushing. “The spike in mine-related deaths, the discovery of lead-tainted toys from China, and our crumbling infrastructure, evidenced by the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, all testify to this failure. We can do better. Progressives are prepared to face these challenges, and others, and take decisive action to protect the American people.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this character was laid bare when the Federal Emergency Management Agency fell down on the job but President Bush nonetheless praised its administrator, Michael Brown—a campaign contributor with no previous experience in disaster response—for doing “a heckuva job.” At Katrina’s two-year anniversary, little has changed. The atrophy of crucial government functions over the last six and a half years has left the American people dangerously vulnerable.
The story is the same from auto safety to preventing financial fraud and identity theft to preservation of our natural resources and protections for clean air and water. The Bush administration has consistently put narrow special interests over the broad public interest and shirked its responsibility to safeguard the American people.
Progressives offer a different approach, motivated by the common good and rooted in Abraham Lincoln’s vision of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” This approach recognizes that government has a fundamental responsibility to protect the public’s health, safety, and general welfare and that this responsibility can only be met through committed action. In particular, government must identify public risks and vulnerabilities, adopt policies to prevent public harm, provide oversight to ensure laws and standards are followed, and make decisions out in the open to ensure accountability for results.
These are straightforward principles of good government, yet they have been repeatedly subverted by the Bush administration. This new report contrasts the conservative record of government sabotage with a progressive vision for safeguarding the American people.
Read the full report here.