Regulating Stupid Americans

Regulating Stupid Americans, by Rachael Williams

John Kerry thinks you’re stupid.  Apparently he thinks most Americans are incapable of understanding the facts and truth of politics if it’s phrased any more complicatedly than “simple slogans”.  C’mon Kerry, we can’t be that stupid—we didn’t elect you, did we?  Or to translate into a slogan,

“Kerry—less electable than the black dude with no job experience.”

Cass Sunstein thinks you’re stupid, too.  Not only does he think you’re too stupid to be trusted to make your own medical decisions (that organ donor option at the DMV left me pacing the halls for hours), he also thinks we’re too darned stupid to know what to eat.  Sunstein’s comments bother me a great deal more given his position as Obama’s Regulatory Czar.  If there is one aspect of big government that actively encourages the dumbing-down of Americans, it’s the regulatory agencies.

The ruling class wants you to think you’re dumber than you are, because when you lose faith in your own ability to handle your life, you’ll more eagerly hand that power over to the government.  The problem with forfeiting the right to live your own life is that our regulatory agencies are run by people so dumb, they make Alvin Greene look like Allen West.

Take a look at their track record.  Our food isn’t safe—there have been several hundred USDA and FDA recalls already this year, and the Oil and Gas Commission apparently thinks that tap water is supposed to be flammable.  Speaking of the Oil and Gas Commission, I seem to remember them having a bit of a SNAFU down in the Gulf earlier this year…

The argument in favor of government-controlled regulatory agencies is that they’re there to protect us, and that without them, we would be faced with all sorts of unfathomable dangers.  Considering the things that slip past them, I think it’s time we eliminate the government monopoly on the regulatory industry and let the capitalists show us how it’s done.

There’s no doubt that capitalism could get the job done cheaper and more efficiently.  The Government Accountability Office (which has replaced “new classic” for the worst oxymoron ever) says that there is no way to accurately predict the FDA’s budget needs.  In spite of FDA funding from private sources (ie: companies paying the FDA to evaluate their drug) growing by 270% in the last decade, the FDA still failed to comply with its own legal guidelines mandating drug manufacturing plants be inspected every two years.  In short, we don’t have any idea how much we’re paying them to approve foods and medicines that are being recalled at a rate of a dozen or more a week.

This is, in a nutshell, what is wrong with all of the regulatory industry: It erases the line between business and bureaucracy.  The public is no safer than they would be without regulation, the American public is given less choices between competing manufacturers, and companies are actually less accountable for their mistakes.

If we had a truly free market—one that Ayn Rand could be proud of—private industry would regulate itself.  Consumer advocacy groups that depended upon the trust of the public in order to remain in business would replace regulatory groups like the FDA.  They could compile drug companies’ own development research and trials, and instead of receiving any funding from the taxpayer dime, the companies themselves could pay the advocacy group for their seal of approval.  If such a privately-run advocacy group ran afoul of consumers by approving too many products that ended up recalled, they would go out of business and make room for a more reputable group to take over.

Several groups are already trying this method, but there are two ways to go about it. AARP is basically a mirror image of the bureaucratic regulatory agency.  Instead of the government policing private industry, AARP makes the majority of their money from supplementing Medicare packages.  Just like the CBC and NAACP, they take advantage of the people they’re supposed to be advocating for.

Case in point: AARP supported ObamaCare—which included numerous cuts to Medicare spending that will boost sales of Medicare supplement packages.  Incidentally, endorsement of Medicare packages is AARP’s primary source of income.  It makes one big, incestuous family out of government and industry where they both get to screw the target demographic.

On the other hand, when the government is completely out of the picture, advocacy groups can benefit both manufacturers and consumers.  Oregon Tilth, a private organization that offers organic certification separate from the USDA’s corrupt organic labeling method.  While the USDA’s certification process was designed with Big Agriculture in mind, Oregon Tilth certification has much stricter criteria with a larger focus on sustainability and humane treatment of animals.  They have become wildly popular among the “too green to shop at Whole Foods” crowd and are yet to run into any major controversy or accusations of corruption.

What it comes down to is a choice of who to trust.  Would you prefer to put your faith in a faceless government agency that cannot be avoided or fired even when there is obvious incompetency; or would you have greater trust in men and women whose endorsements have to be in your best interest if they want to keep their jobs?  It’s a pretty easy choice, but heck, you’re just a stupid American—you can’t be trusted to make your own decisions.

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