Nov 222008

We’re getting a good look at what “re-regulation” of our economy means. It means that government regulators can violate the privacy of individuals’ records for partisan political gain, and get by with a belated slap on the wrist.

Mind you, it doesn’t always work this way. When a couple of employees in the administration of Bush the Elder took a peek at Bill Clinton’s passport files during the 1992 campaign, they were fired immediately.

But that was a Republican administration. In Ohio, under Democrat Governor Ted Strickland, some employees took a look at Joe the Plumber’s records for information to use against him. They’re getting by with short-term suspensions. Nobody is getting fired over there, which serves to send the message to future privacy violators that if you do it for the right cause (i.e. the right side) it may very well be worth the risk.

When Linda Tripp’s records were illegally leaked for partisan political purposes, nothing substantial was done about it. Guess which party benefited from that one?

When health care workers violated the privacy of celebrities at UCLA’s medical center, at least one person was fired. But I suppose there was no overt partisan political cause to be served by that one.

Yes, government regulation is a wonderful thing to have. Keeps those nasty free marketers under control.