A lack of government oversight in recent years has plunged us into what may end up being the deepest banking crisis we’ve seen in 80 years; led to an obscene flood of dangerous, life-threatening products (including tainted medicines) hitting our shelves and has shown in disgusting detail how sickly cattle can make their way into our food supply. Enough may finally be enough for even some of the anti-regulation, small government types, as Elizabeth Williamson points out in her story, “Political pendulum swings toward stricter regulation” in today’s Wall Street Journal.
As you can see in the chart that ran with the WSJ article, we’re already on pace to break last year’s record number of toy recalls.
The problems stemming from a lack of government oversight are so pervasive that even some Reagan stalwarts are changing their mind about the regulatory bogeyman. Williamson writes:
Both advocates and foes of tighter regulation agree that high-profile breakdowns in quality control and accountability have fueled the pendulum swing away from voluntary industry standards. That shift has been accelerated by a growing public perception that American companies and regulators have lost a large measure of control over the safety and quality of products increasingly produced by a global supply chain.
Democrats, and even some Republicans, are blaming lax federal supervision for safety problems with products ranging from all-terrain vehicles and lead-tainted toys imported from China to poorly operated nursing homes and faulty emissions controls at coal-fired power plants.