Sunday, July 23, 2006

Government Knows Best: Mad Cow Edition

From today's New York Times: U.S. Reduces Testing for Mad Cow Disease, Citing Few Infections.

The mad cow thing is one of those great situations where "consumer groups" are left in the dust by government and would actually benifit from a free market. As the article points out, private companies are actually prohibited from conducting their own testing for mad cow disease. The government makes the point that if some private groups tested every single cattle to go on the market, then the public might think that such extensive testing is neccessary, and assume that other cattle are not safe.

This is the scary side of the nanny state. Industries and individuals who would like a higher safety threshold are rebuffed by government experts. There may be any number of ideas in the cattle industry as to how to best protect the public from mad cow disease, but with the current system, we are left with only the one government plan. We're constantly told that we need government regulation to protect us from the market, but do we really need the market to protect us from the government.


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