I'm in the "Don't Gut Regulation" camp...

Ezra captures the key point on the oil spill (link).

It strains credulity to suggest that presidents will enter office and zero in on failures at tiny regulatory agencies. But their underlings should. And they appoint their underlings. So insofar as Ken Salazar fell down on the job, it's Obama's fault in a "buck stops here" sort of way.

But this is also evidence of what a bad idea it is to routinely elect people who make it a point to degrade the capacity of regulatory agencies. If your regulators are going to be effective, the commitment to their effectiveness has to be continuous, not episodic. If every other administration has to come into office and nurse a sabotaged bureaucracy back to health, they're going to miss some of the problems, and much of the damage will already have been done.

(Emphasis mine).

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