With the latest egg scare coming to a head, I am sure that you will be reading plenty of commentary on how we need the FDA to take a greater role in food oversight, and that the powers of the FDA should be expanded. Of course, a crisis is a great opportunity to get people reacquainted with the idea that we would all be dead and starving were it not for the government.
- Indeed, the FDA already has strong oversight powers in the food market. It would be impossible to have even a small portion of the food supply monitored and checked regularly. In any case, the egg contamination happened on the FDA’s watch, just as the Gulf Oil spill happened under the eye of the regulatory authorities, just as the financial crisis took place under the eye of the SEC, Fed and other regulatory bodies, just as the 9-11 attacks took place under the nose of our defense agencies, etc. And in every single case, all we see are calls for increased government involvement. Not only do we get “calls” we get massive intrusions and a ratcheting up of the power of government. Tell me one other institution were the buck is passed and failure is rewarded more regularly? In any case, the record of the FDA has been exemplary. The amount of food contamination is remarkably small. I do not attribute that to the FDA, but if they wish to take credit, so be it. The point is, we do not have anything resembling a food safety crisis on our hands.
- If this egg contamination is evidence that the FDA should have its authority expanded (what do they want, government agents up the arse of every hen?), then please someone tell me what would ever be grounds for a decreasing of the power and authority or the FDA for that matter. The reality is, there will few if any state congregationalists that will even feign an answer. If anything that goes wrong is evidence that the state needs more power, and there is nothing that can be demonstrated to allow for a reduction in state power, then the ratcheting of government control over our lives will only continue. The deck is stacked, like it has been for centuries. And sadly the richer we are, the less we seem to be aware of it.
So, let’s offer what should be a politically acceptable proposition: every time an agency is created, or an existing agencies pushes to have its powers expanded, then at the same time, a set of conditions and rules must be laid out for the unraveling of said powers or the diminution of other authorities when certain conditions are met. But we will never see that happen.