Just when you think Fox News may have found one issue that the network can agree with President Obama on, in this case the need for more regulation and food inspections to prevent things like the current national egg recall due to salmonella infection, along comes Neil Cavuto and guest Charles Payne to explain to us why big business should be allowed to poison our food.
Here is the video from Media Matters:
Cavuto and guest Charles Payne bemoaned the idea that the egg recall might lead to more food safety regulations. Payne said, “Last July they got more power, guess what? It kicked in July 12. Now they are saying that this current salmonella thing started before that. I don’t know, but here’s the thing, we have seen this over and over again, where the FDA, in my mind, one of these government agencies falls on their face. They don’t do their job, and instead of say we didn’t do our job, we need more power, and I think at the end of the day, it is going to cost us.”
After Cavuto pointed out that sometimes corporate America gets a bad rap for not policing themselves, and then Payne warned that more regulation would increase the price of eggs for consumers, “The main thing, though, I also think this is just sort of a smokescreen. I think ultimately what a lot of people would like to see is the industry go with the whole cage free thing, and that will be prohibitively expensive for consumers.”
Here is what Payne and Cavuto leave out of their discussion. If the FDA is, “not doing their job” it is most likely because the agency was gutted by budget cuts during the Bush administration. According to a 2007 AP story, Bush budget cuts left the FDA able to conduct 47% fewer food inspections, 12% fewer food related employees in field offices, and food safety tests dropped 75% from 9,748 in 2003 to 2,455 in 2006. The problem was that the Bush administration shifted resources away from food safety after 9/11, while they also gave the FDA a budget that could not keep up with inflation and personnel costs.
In typical conservative fashion, Cavuto and Payne used the egg recall as evidence that the federal government is not doing its job, without telling you that it was the previous Republican administration that undercut the FDA abilities by limiting their funding in order to justify their small government pro-corporate ideology. This is the Republican way. They do everything they can when they are in power to gut the effectiveness of government, in order to justify their belief that government does not work. It is an ideological self fulfilling prophecy.
The only way that a conservative can justify their support for less food safety regulation, which will result in less safe food, which people of all political persuasions will end up consuming, is if they never waver from their belief that the free market will always correct itself and that small government is best. Food safety increases costs so corporations have a monetary interest in maintaining a weak regulatory structure. Fox News may be against food safety for ideological reasons, but the American people need more regulation not less to keep our food safe.