As the presidential campaign season gets underway, it reminds us how much we loath the politics of fear mongering. Half-truths and half-baked policy proposals have become staples of modern campaigns. You betcha!
Until recently, there was a difference between campaigning and governing. Governments are supposed to base their decisions on hard facts and real science. In today’s hyperpoliticized culture, though, the regulatory process can also get hijacked by special-interest groups armed with “narratives” that are simple, emotional and deeply misleading.
California, which is widely known for its progressive politics, should shun governing by scare tactics in defining today’s progressive vision for regulation. As Vice President Al Gore did with the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, progressives should grab the pragmatic view that agencies get smart on an issue, develop targeted regulations and use their authority to solve real problems.
California voters back this vision. They recently voted against requiring warnings on genetically modified foods as unwise regulation. The Obama administration has since concluded the fears of GM products are unwarranted. In April, the U.S. trade representative chastised European regulators for allowing “opt-outs” of U.S. imports of GM products as “ignore(ing) science-based safety and environmental determinations.”
Chalk one up for California’s progressive governing.
On the other side of the ledger is California’s decision last month to add bisphenol A, or BPA, to the list of toxicants under Proposition 65. BPA has been used to coat the inside of bottles and cans since the 1960s to keep harmful germs from growing inside them.
Continue reading at The Sacramento Bee.