Thursday, August 04, 2011

Getting Out Of The Way Of Business

by Dick Mac

One of the fundamental tenets of supply-side economic theory is that the government must be removed from the conduct of business.

All government intervention is detrimental to the development of the markets, and when the markets are left to their own devices, riches grow, manna falls from heaven, the sun shines, the grass grows, the forests become lush, the oceans thrive, the sky is clear and blue, poverty vanishes, everyone profits, the children are safe and happy, the streets flow with milk and honey, and it flows easily because said streets are paved in gold.

For the past thirty years, we have been systematically removing government from hindering business. Anyone who tells you that isn't true is either a liar or completely clueless. All of the Presidents since 1980 have helped de-fund regulatory agencies, including the IRS, and have appointed businessmen to head agencies previously headed by scientists, doctors and analysts.

We now have agencies that cost more than ever, are staffed at lower levels than ever, have had the teeth removed from their regulations, and are pretty much ineffective. This is the "conservative" way: cripple a service, then complain that it is ineffective, therefore it must be eliminated or privatized.

This is Reaganomics at its finest, and it is more alive this day than I think the Hunt family, Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, and Ronald Reagan himself ever thought possible.

Today's victory celebration for the supply-siders is taking place at the Cargill Meat Solutions processing plant in Arkansas. The table is set with the finest linens and silver, the creamer and sugar bowl are full, and the tea is steeping as we speak, because it is time for a little tea party!

Some of the ground turkey is bad. Salmonella has tainted it and a recall is taking place. Well . . . not just some ground turkey, but thirty-six million pounds of ground turkey.

Now, I don't know how long it takes to grind thirty-six million pounds of ground turkey, but I suspect it doesn't take place overnight.

At the Cargill website, they state that the facility in Springdale, Arkansas, processes two-hundred-fifty million turkey annually. According to news reports, the contamination fook place between February 20, 2011, and August 2, 2011 (that's about 160 days - give or take).

So, it appears that on a good day, with all the inspectors out of the way, and the staff working extra hours, perhaps a quarter-million pounds of turkey is ground.

It also appears that with all the inspectors out of the way and the staff working as hard as they can, that nobody is really paying attention to cleanliness; you know, like tracking bacteria that might kill somebody.

The reports of salmonella illness related to the ground turkey started March 1, 2011, and continued until the recall began August 1, 2011.

Now, using supply-side philosophy and tea party logic, if there was no government agency overseeing meat manufacturing, and there was no funding for the Centers for Disease Control, then the food industry would have plenty of resources to have discovered this problem and prevent something like this from happening.

If you really believe in Reaganomics, then you believe that Cargill itself would have found the salmonella and recalled the meat much faster than the five months it has taken. If only the evil United States government would get out of their way.

In the supply-side Utopia, there is no Food & Drug Administration, and no funding for the Centers for Disease Control. All industry inspection is handled by the industrialists themselves and all disease control is funded with the vast charitable contributions made by people like Donald Trump.

In reality, supply-side philosophy and the tea party movement benefit a very tiny number of people; likely a percentage so small that it can't be measured easily. Yet, millions and millions of Americans believe Ronald Reagan was a saint, did more for the middle-class than any President before him, and that the tea party movement is the only hope America has for its future.

If you want more poisoned meat, if you want less government oversight, if you want the industrialists to be the only people with a say in the development of American industry, then put on (or keep on) the blinders, vote Republican, and send a few dollars to the long-suffering billionaires who are trying to save the world with a tea party.

Investigation Announcement: Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Heidelberg Infections, from the CDC site

Cargill recalls 36 million pounds of turkey in salmonella outbreak, from Quad City Times

Gargill recalling 36M pounds of ground turkey, from Bloomberg Businessweek

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