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Friday, June 13, 2008

Bring back the socialists

Paul Krugman has a column today on food regulation, and how we need to get back to the socialism of real food and drug regulation. He notes that a number of powerful, vociferous, and neolithic conservatives have tried to beat back effective regulation of the American food supply, leading to recent scares over American beef, spinach, tomatoes, peanut butter (and let's not forget things like lead toys).

Thus, when Grover Norquist, the anti-tax advocate, was asked about his ultimate goal, he replied that he wanted a restoration of the way America was “up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over. The income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that.” (emphasis mine)
Republican Congresses have steadily cut FDA funding and, with it, oversight.

Perhaps even more important, however, was the systematic appointment of foxes to guard henhouses.

Thus, when mad cow disease was detected in the U.S. in 2003, the Department of Agriculture was headed by Ann M. Veneman, a former food-industry lobbyist. And the department’s response to the crisis — which amounted to consistently downplaying the threat and rejecting calls for more extensive testing — seemed driven by the industry’s agenda.

As Krugman says, let's bring back the socialists.

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