Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yes my libertarian friends, there is hope ...

This Alternet piece on food safety had me smiling, thinking that maybe there is still hope for limited government. The author's beef is with the new food safety regs and the unprecedented power they would give to the FDA. Much of the piece covers the complete lack of statistical evidence that we are in the midst of some sort of food safety crisis, but the money quote comes near the end:

But there’s another factor at work here as well: a drive to broadly expand the powers of the FDA. As one example, it will have the power under the House legislation recently passed to require highly detailed written food plans from all food producers, including the smallest makers of artisan cheese and meats. The owner of a two-person California maker of specialty cheeses, fruits, and nuts, told me that creating such a plan would require about 100 hours of upfront work, and then two hours a day to be kept up to date. Failure to comply could result in a fine of $10,000 per infraction per day, this for a business doing less than $100,000 of annual revenues.

I've covered it before, but there's a segment of the left that gets all in a huff when government bureaucrats threaten their access to raw milk and this is a reaction born of that same mindset, highlighting a universal truth about regulation in all it's forms. The article doesn't mention the big boys of "big food" and that's because big business is never opposed to regulation of this sort. They have the resources to deal with it and it only puts smaller competitors at a disadvantage. Big food can comply with whatever regulatory garbage it's thrown it's way. It's the little guys- raw milk producers and small time operations selling artisan meats and cheeses- who get screwed.

That there's a segment amongst the left that's coming to realize this is heartening to say the least. The implication is, hopefully, that yes there is a tipping point. The more folks who come to resent government intrusion into their livelihood, the greater the chances there are of real changes being made to our political system.


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