Do the folks at the Bush administration believe a word they say about economics? Or are they consciously lying because they know that just saying “we want to help the rich and powerful, and fuck all to everything else” might not fly with the voters?
I’d like to believe that there’s such a thing as an honorable opposition, but they make it so hard.
In one of the more insane stories you’ll read today, the Department of Agriculture has banned a small beef producer named Creekstone from testing its cows for Mad Cow Disease. Why? “Larger meat companies worry that if Creekstone is allowed to perform the test and advertise its meat as safe, they could be forced to do the expensive test, too.” And when they say “forced,” they mean that Creekstone will attain a competitive advantage by investing in diagnostics which will give consumers information they value, and then the market will strongly suggest that other producers follow suit. Other producers don’t want to follow suit and so they bent the ear of their good friends in the Bush administration. Dean Baker makes the right point here, saying “This is just a wonderful example showing that the Bush administration conservatives have no interest in the free market or ‘you are on your own’ economics. They are prepared to use the heavy hand of the government to ensure that small meat packers do not win out over bigger more politically powerful meat packers.”
This also has the effect of cutting US beef off from foreign markets, particularly Japan. But, really, I’m not crying any tears for the beef producers. It’s the hypocrisy that drives me mad.