Small Victory — S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, Has Been Modified

You win some, you lose some; small/local farmers and ranches are still locked in the bill’s cross-hairs, though, and much work remains while we still have time.

A quick update on what I wrote about yesterday in reference to this bill; this snippet from the Downsize DC organization:

Word comes that we’ve won another small victory in Congress

Thanks to public pressure, including lots of pressure from DC Downsizers, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), has been modified!

The new version of the bill now exempts dietary supplements from possible future regulation through the ominous sounding Codex Alimentarius.

The idea was to start making your vitamins comply with international rules. We’ve dodged that bullet, but we can’t yet say that it’s a final victory . . .

* No one knows what will happen when the so-called food safety bill goes to conference committee
* And it’s still possible Senator McCain could revive his original vitamin bill

In addition, the Food Safety Bill itself WILL pass. It simply has too much support from corporate welfare interests, while we have too few members of the Downsize DC Army, and related groups, to fight against it. So, here’s where things are heading . . .

Our government is squeezing small businesses to extinction, by constantly erecting regulatory schemes with which only big companies can afford to comply.

In this case the victims are small family farms, but in other cases, like the recent new lead regulations, the victims were small toy makers, Mom and Pop retailers, and thrift stores. Remember . . .

Mattel was responsible for the scare over lead in toys, but Mattel was also in favor of the new regulations that resulted from Mattel’s mistake. Why? Because Mattel could afford to comply with the regulations, while many, small competing toy makers could not. Thus, thanks to government regulations, Mattel has benefited by thinning-out its competition. It’s wrong to profit from your own screw-up, and it takes a State (coercive, Big Government) to make such a thing happen.

This is increasingly what it means to live in The United States of Corporate Welfare . . .

* Small businesses get regulated out of existence
* The remaining businesses are too big to fail
* Big businesses know that they’re considered too big to fail, and so they feel free to take big risks that often result in big disasters
* The little guy then gets taxed to bail out the big guy, and
* More regulations are created that kill more little guys

Please go to the Downsize DC website, register (it’s free!), and join the fray.  The local farmer and ranchers will appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.  This isn’t the end of the fight.

*August 26, 2010 edit: S.510 has been revised since this the time of post, with the new version being a bit more palatable.  See this for a concise rundown of the revisions.

24 responses to “Small Victory — S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, Has Been Modified

  1. To me, this just reinforces;
    a) How fucked up the USA really is… and
    b) How fucked up countries like New Zealand are when we look toward the USA for our leads & try to follow suit as our current Govt. often does.

  2. I agree with 98% of your post, except for the last bit:

    “The little guy then gets taxed to bail out the big guy”

    Right now federal taxes are the lowest they’ve been in 60 years. And 95% of people in the U.S. received a tax cut this year. I know you guys are going to jump all over me for mentioning that, but it’s true.

    If you want to argue that taxes are still too high, fine. You can make that argument. I would disagree with it, but everyone is free to have an opinion.

    But let’s at least start with the baseline that for almost everyone, taxes went down this year, not up.

    And yes, I realize this doesn’t dispute any of your other points, which I agree with.

    • “The little guy then gets taxed to bail out the big guy”

      I think this is in reference to the “too big to fail” debacle; relative “big guy”, relative “little guy”.

    • The bailouts of the passed few years have not yet had their impact on the current tax burden. They will…or won’t they? Two options exist for for government debt financing, taxes and inflation. Inflation (via the Fed) is silent, often completely hidden and harder to fight. So I’m willing to bet that “taxes” via constitutional legislative means won’t jump at nearly the rate that our real incomes will plummet due to wild monetary pumping via the fed.

    • Charles,
      You make good points. I would consider though the “hidden tax” of the printing press that EVERYONE pays, and the lil’ guy pays more of it relatively. In short, the more money that’s printed to bail out these failed companies devalues the money already in our pockets. The inflation may not happen at the same time the money is printed, but it will happen. So, when the government is able to print money at will, it’s an indirect tax, so to speak, since when this newly printed money exchanges hands it doesn’t immediately devalue the worth of the currency.

      So, the first receivers (e.g., the failed companies) bail themselves out, get their balance sheets in order, but we get left with money that’s worth less as the new money is circulated in the economy and devalues all of the currency. By the way, do you know by how much the US dollar’s money supply was increased over the last 2 years by %? Google it, it will shock you.

      The national debt is one thing, we can see that. But the money that’s being printed at breaknecking speed is something that may affect us long after the ink dries on the notes. And then, when inflation hits, it can be blamed on greedy capitalists, the need for more regulations, and the big guys as Keith notes will then indirectly benefit again by having the lil’ guy (both lil’ businesses and chumps like you and I) be squeezed out by increased regulations and our devalued greenbacks… but the printing press will be shrouded in a smokescreen of economist gobblygook speak as if printing money like the Germans did in the 1920’s isn’t what’s really going on.

        • I’ve noticed a heavy concentration of very Progressive types and Austrian school Libertarians within the Paleo tribe. It seems to me that both types are the “free thinkers” within their more mainstream associated centers. Interesting…though not, I suppose, all too surprising?

          • To quote Motorhead, “To live outside the law, my dear, you’ve gotta give a damn.” From the Austro-libertarian and the Paleo view point, if I may speak for all, one must decide to learn constantly to develop a sense of conviction and purpose. To hold passionately beliefs that lay well wide of the mainstream, and be able to back them up, on must make a serious investment of time. The advantage to human welfare from both these camps is truly underrated in my view.

      • To compliment Zach’s devastating blow to Charles. The FED does not print money into circulation for free. The Federal Reserve loans the government money on interest. So the National Debt is being increased by the creation of these “Phantom Dollars.” “Phantom Dollars” that we the “lil guy” are on the hook for.

        Technically, according to Black’s Law Dictionary 6th edition, Federal Reserve Notes can’t even be classified money. Money can provide a final discharge of a Debt. A Federal Reserve Note CANNOT. A FRN cannot discharge a debt because its created out of debt. As of 1933 the Nation went off the gold standard and replaced the dollar with the FRN. This “Fiat Currency” has a Debt tied to it, in that the principle is created but not the interest. The FED prints “Phantom Money” into existence in the form of a loan to the government but not the interest. It could be called a promissory note but it’s not, since the FRN promises nothing in that it has no redemption clause. By definition it’s not even a “dollar” although its loosely called that. The Coinage Act of 1792 says the dollar is defined as 371.25 grains of pure silver. I cite that because it’s not the cotton paper that gave the dollar its value but it’s the Silver.

        Somewhere “We the people” forget the importance associated with the precious metal backing the paper. We shortsightedly associated the paper as the “money.” A true dollars is associated to a measurement of silver or gold but clearly it was a measurement. So what exactly is a FRN? It’s a Lien. A lein created when…” The United States Federal Government [republic of the united States of America] has been dissolved by the Emergency Banking Act, March 9, 1933,48 Stat. 1, Public Law 89-719 declared by President Roosevelt, being bankrupt and insolvent. H.J.R. [House Joint Resolution] 192, 73rd Congress in session June 5, 1933 -Joint Resolution To Suspend The Gold Standard and Abrogate The Gold Clause dissolved the Sovereign Authority of the United States and the official capacities of all United States Governmental Offices, Officers, and Departments and is further evidence that the United States Federal Government exists today in name only. The receivers of the United States Bankruptcy are the International Bankers, via the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund…” Speaker-Rep. James Traficant, Jr. (Ohio) addressing the House United States Congressional Record, March 17, 1993 Vol. 33, page H-1303 .

        The FRN is toxic currency and anything purchased with the FRN is associated to the lein. So ask yourself is what you own really yours? The information is there it just needs to be sifted through in all the noise and rhetoric. I took the Red Pill by the way and i don’t regret the choice. Goodspeed!

        If you want to read the rest of the of the hearing.

        http://mhkeehn.tripod.com/Traficant.pdf

        “What is a dollar? It’s just something artificial we throw out there. What you’re doing is you’re fooling people into thinking they have purchasing power, when in fact they do not.”- Denis Karnofsky, Chief Economic Advisor, St. Louis, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank (June 10, 1978).

        • Rob,
          You have a lot of good info packed into this comment, and I believe really broke it out for the layman and learned alike.

          Now, in fairness to Charles, I think he had a good comment that set up some of our comments, in that it gave us a chance to offer a different point of view that he may never have heard of. I remember before “taking the red pill”, meaning before I read The Road to Serfdom and Human Action (whew, what a long read, took me nearly 2 years), I didn’t get it.

          Charles and other folks who may not have read up on Austrian economic business cycle theories, I would encourage them to think about the similarities between a body with hyper glucose levels and all the bad things that result, and an economy with hyper inflation, there’s a lot of “Command and Control” in these similarities (h/t De Vany) that lead to chaos. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I was offering a “devastating blow” to anyone’s argument, I just wanted to bring up a POV that he and others may not have heard of before.

          Certainly pre-paleo and pre-Hayek/Mises, I didn’t see the connection between fiat currency and the ag subsidies ballooning the production of corn and our girths, as well. Our biological systems gettin’ thrown out of whack by these cheap carbs are a lot like our economy being thrown of out whack by cheap credit. Real Food. Real Money. Real Life.
          Start here if you want to go down the rabbit hole:
          http://mises.org/daily/3000

          @ Charles, thanks for the gentlemanly comment “Very well put, and obviously has implication outside the current discussion.”
          And thanks for consideration of my comment/s.

          @ Rob & JeffB, not to promote my site on Keith’s site, but if either of you ever want to write a post about the similarities between Austrian economics/hard currency & your paleo experience/awakening, etc., please email me, and it would be my pleasure to invite either of you a guest post. I’ve been wanting to explore the subject for some time now.

          Keith, thanks for the forum as always to exchange ideas with such a diverse group of people.
          https://theorytopractice.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/the-looming-health-care-trainwreck/

        • Thanks for the respectful tone of the discussion, but in my defense, I mentioned nothing about the issues either you or Zach brought up. I don’t feel particularly devastated (or vindicated), because I wasn’t speaking to the wider issues. It could be said that without discussing those wider issues, the convesation really can’t reach any intelligent conclusions, but still I wasn’t addressing that level of economic theory.

          My basic (and quite unsophisticated in relation to the others discussed here) economic theory is that just as our bodies have not adpapted to neolithic foods, neither have they adapted to neolithic economics and politics.

          We are still built to function at our best in small, hunter-gatherer groups, of no more that a couple of dozen people.

          As far as I’m concerned everything that we have to do to respond to the over-population, over-crowding and over-urbanized way of life we find outselves in is a kludge, doomed to the kind of failures of health, happiness and freedom we’re seeing now.

          We can have all these wonderful explanations of what’s happening and what should happen in terms of organizing the economic relationships and systems, but the fact that it isn’t happening, and won’t happen tells me that theory isn’t practice. It’s all just intellectualizing, and while the quality of those theoretical philsophical and economic systems may be wonderfully consistent, they will never bring humans the kind of happiness and health and health of culture that we are currently built for biologically and neurologically.

          So that’s why I never engage in those kinds of discussions. First of all, I’m not smart or informed enough to do so intelligently. But more importantly, I don’t think even their perfect adoption will result in what they say they will. We are not built to thrive under these conditions, no matter how perfectly we seek to organize them.

          • You know, Charles, I couldn’t have said it better myself. What you described is exactly what the Austrian school puts forth. We thrive when at the individual level we may control what we want to buy and sell to others without any interference. Most of what you say overlays very nicely with the perspective of “marginal utility”, meaning we all place different preferences on different things, every person has a different value that he/she assigns to things. So, there really can’t be price controls from the top down, as every person may be willing to pay more or less for something, etc. Overlay that with your comments of living in small hunter-gatherer groups and it certainly makes sense. But you’re right, there’s no perfection here, there’s only human action, and we’re all fallible. Cheers.

  3. Charles,

    What you wrote was sobering…and humbling. I get on a tirade at times, my apologies brother. It is my contention that there are “agent provocateurs” who participate in these discussion so I generally dont take part. Godspeed.

    • Rob,

      No sweat! Maybe I’m naive, but I didn’t take offense. Considering the topic, this has been quite a restrained and respectful discussion. So I assumed your comment was in that vein.

    • Truth. I think the revisions made to this bill since the time of this posting make the legislation much more palatable. I suppose I need an update to this post reflecting those changes.

    • Mike,
      Here’s a concise rundown of the provisions made to the bill since it’s inception — and, yes in my opinion, it’s much more palatable now.

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