Reform America
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Politics & Power

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Mad Cow, E. Coli, Salmonella and the FDA

With the latest food recall and national panic over tainted tomatoes it seems that once again our federal government is shutting the barn door after the horse has gotten away. When you look at the structure of agencies like the FDA and Department of Agriculture it is not hard to see why. Our government in its infinite wisdom thought it was a good idea to have one agency both monitor the safety of the products and promote the business interests of the industries at the same time. Some might ask; “What’s the problem with that?” The problem is called a conflict of interest.

In an open market capitalist society the perception of a company has a great impact on its profitability. If a company is seen as having a dangerous product people will not want to buy it for fear of being adversely effected by the product in question. Therefore, if the FDA reacts too quickly to protect the public from a potential harm they damage the company and are then not promoting the well-being of the industry. If the FDA reacts too slowly then they are not promoting the well-being of the consumers they are supposed to protect. Which takes precedent over the other? How much of a tightrope is that to walk?

The next thing we have to look at is who controls these agencies? The short answer is Congress and the President. The longer answer is that Congress writes the laws and regulations that control the agencies and the President decides who is in charge of running the agencies and how they spend their money. Andrew C. von Eschenbach assumed the role of the Commissioner of the FDA in 2006. He was appointed to the National Cancer Institute by George W. Bush in 2001. Later he became the second in command at the FDA and took over leadership of the organization when his predecessor resigned from the post. As a Bush appointee, it is a safe assumption that his politics are in line with the President’s. Since the current administration has a lengthy record of siding with business over individuals it’s a good bet that any appointee would be encouraged to take similar postures.

That brings us to Congress and their role in overseeing the operations of government agencies to make sure that they are following the rules established for them. Therein lies another problem. Lobbyists in Washington outnumber members of Congress by over 35,000. It is nearly a hundred to one ratio of lobbyists to legislators. Some of the most influential lobbies in Washington are the drug manufacturers and agri-businesses. Since the lobbyists for the businesses governed by the FDA have nearly a constant presence in the halls of Congress and the average consumers basically have no lobbyists to speak of it makes sense that the priorities of the companies would be the most heard by the politicians making the laws.

So what can we do about it? Well, we can boycott the producers of the food but how many of us are actually willing to give up going to the store or pay the prices to buy from small local producers? We could write our Representatives and Senators but if and when someone on their staff read them we would likely only get a nice form letter in response. There is another option. We can organize. The average working American family needs their own lobby and it needs to be as big and powerful as the business lobbies that we are up against.

Part of what Reform America was formed to do is to represent the interests of hard working Americans who have so often not had a voice in government or a seat at the table when our fate is being discussed. We need to hear from you the people on what issues you want brought to Congress for deliberation. Then we need the means to go to Washington and fight for the people of this nation. If you want to be part of the solution join us and sign up to be a member of Reform America. Membership is free and we don’t send solicitations or sell your personal information. To find out more or to become a part of Reform America e-mail the following to Membership@reform-america.net:

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We will contact you with information about our organization and how you can work with us to find real solutions to the real problems facing America today.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Click icon to Digg this article



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net

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