The New York Times discovers that industry often pushes for regulation rather than deregulation. The reporter recognizes that this in itself isn't news; the hook is that it is allegedly happening more now than before:
The practice of industry groups turning to regulators or legislators in Washington for a national standard or mandate is not new, of course. While businesses often oppose requirements by saying they are unnecessary as it is already in their interest to produce safe products, at other times they have asked for them to avoid a patchwork of state regulations, to ensure that competitors must meet the same standard or to provide legal protection....
But industry officials, consumer groups and regulatory experts all agree there has been a recent surge of requests for new regulations, and one reason they give is the Bush administration’s willingness to include provisions that would block consumer lawsuits in state and federal courts.
Caveat: Despite that phrase "all agree," the article actually quotes one expert -- OMB chief Susan Dudley -- who says she isn't sure business demands for regulation are rising.
Whether or not such requests are increasing, they're certainly common. For a recent example, see The Wall Street Journal's report on the food industry's enthusiasm for federal regulation of imports (via a "public-private partnership," of course) and more funding for the FDA. Most of the Journal piece is hidden behind a subscription wall, but you can read the rest at the liberal blog The Pump Handle, which welcomes these efforts to raise entry barriers, externalize costs, and fend off lawsuits as a sign that "responsible corporations recognize the need for public health and environmental regulation."
Not every lefty feels the same way. Here's Alexander Cockburn a few years ago:
The feds are red-taping small meat businesses into a nightmare labyrinth of "voluntary compliance" schedules and record-keeping, most of which are entirely unnecessary, and in some cases, entirely wrong-headed....
No surprises here. A lot of the history of food regulation in this country has turned out to be a way to finish off small, quality producers by demanding they invest in whatever big ticket items the USDA happens to be in love with at the time; said love objects usually turning out to be whatever the big food processors are using. That's the reason why it's hard to get decent sausages or hams....The big packers and processing plants get to participate directly in the writing of the laws that set the standard practices that the inspectors march out to enforce on all the little producers not part of the Meat Syndicate.