President Barack Obama signs H.R. 2751, the “F...

Pres. Obama signs FDA Food Safety Modernization Act 01/04/2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was going to open this blog post with the phrase, “During the presidential campaign …” Such an opening would assume that political campaigning began this year. Not so. We’ve been in campaign mode the moment President Obama took office. His opponents began lining up the moment he won the general election.

Rather than ignore their rhetoric entirely, it’s a somewhat worthy exercise to take note of a few complaints from the far right as an exercise to see what would happen to us if we succumb to their machinations. What I’m talking about is the constant complaint that government is too big.

During the primary season, we were bombarded with campaign stomp speeches that promised to eliminate whole departments of the federal government, including the Food and Drug Administration. That complaint is often followed up with the constant whine about the “stranglehold” President Obama is placing on businesses causing our economy to tank.

We did that with the last administration. Regulations were tossed out the window resulting in a market crash and recession that was felt around the globe. Frankly, those who propose we return to a system that failed us miserably should be removed from any public office; their desire to see this country fail for whatever reason should not be entertained on any level.

These are strong words that I am using but if you stop for just a moment and think about what would happen if we either did away with or rolled back vital regulations with the FDA. Here’s a scenario that should scare us.

Leading medical and public health groups warn that the routine use of antibiotics to produce meat and poultry creates new strains of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria that threaten human health. So in April, the FDA issued a series of draft measures to limit the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in meat and poultry production. Here’s what the FDA currently does about this issue:

For animal antibiotics, the safety assessment is more stringent than that for human antibiotics in three ways: 1) If there are risks to humans, FDA will not approve the antibiotic for animals; 2) FDA requires a food safety assessment to ensure meat is safe; and 3) FDA studies the pharmaceutical thoroughly to guarantee it does not increase the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food. [….]

FDA’s recent actions are intended to preserve antibiotics so they continue to work to treat life-threatening infections today and in the future, and ensure long-term public health protections. Now imagine if the FDA didn’t exist. Or, if they did not regulate sucks risks and instead left it up to the farmer.

The risk multiplies in this scenario because it is so easy to say well if using more antibiotics that result in an increase in product that leads to more sales is not regulated, it must be okay to do. That’s a risk we can’t afford to have.

As for Republicans’ argument that such regulations are holding businesses back, there’s evidence to the contrary.

Farmer’s were hit hard like so many other industries during the recession. Instead of engaging in an activity fraught with high-risk factors for humans, farmers got creative.

Major agricultural commodities continued their extended run-up in price, underscoring how much of America’s farm belt is booming even as the overall economy continues to struggle.

Contracts for the delivery of corn and soybeans into mid-2011 jumped Monday by 5% and 2%, respectively, after rising their daily permissible limits on Friday, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sliced production estimates by small percentages. Cash cotton prices rose 3.3% Monday after a 3.9% gain Friday. They are 86% higher than a year ago. [….] (October 2011, WSJ)

Read he full article at the link above. More important, we should keep that in mind the next time someone says the President’s policies are hurting businesses or that our government is too big. Maybe what should be done the next time someone says government is too big is to pull all services away from their neighborhood, i.e., police, firefighters, waste disposal, schools and all other public services that we know we can’t do without.


About Val McCall

Words matter.

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