Okay, we dodged the proverbial bullet here. The Democrats wanted so badly to hand the President the reconciled Food Safety bill for his signature in this lame duck session after passing Senate Bill 510 yesterday. It would have been yet another sweeping federal regulatory bill (after health care and financial reform) they wanted to pin up as a victory.
But, according to HotAir this morning, Section 107 of the bill raises taxes (imagine that), and only the House of Representatives has that power per the Constitution. Proving once again, they no longer pay attention to that pesky document. Thankfully, there probably will not be enough time now before the end of the session to fix it. Whew!
But what’s it all about when it rears its ugly head again?
“An excessively costly or unprofitable undertaking”
is my favorite definition from my handy-dandy online dictionary/thesaurus for the word folly. What could better describe the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510)?
Consider the impact of this additional bit of federal over-reach and regulation on our farms, farmers and farmer’s markets around the country. The latter being the avenue for the very best food anywhere, not to mention the safest and most fresh with the least carbon footprint!
Small farms (producing less than $500K/yr) are exempt from the bulk of the bill, but any setting where food is sold (farmer’s markets, county fairs, student bake sales?) will be more regulated and therefore more costly. $500,000 gross receipts seems like a lot until compared to the penalty for denying federal agents unlimited, random access to a farm’s fields, properties, products and records, which could be as much as $1,000,000! And the penalty for not registering is up to $1,000,000. A tad heavy-handed. Can you see any possibility for thuggery, malfeasance or competitive pressure on the many, small mostly, non-unionized farms when you have big operators like ConAgra or Monsanto in support of this legislation?
Oh and by the way, it gives the FDA authority to hire 17,800 new inspectors and applies U.S. safety standards to foreign food suppliers, once again killing private sector jobs and increasing the federal bureaucracy.
But don’t worry. Surely you remember Mr. Obama’s concern that federal workers should share in the sacrifice of these tough times in his recently heralded federal pay freeze which more accurately should be called a pay guarantee, for the next 2 years. Never mind the pay cuts and furloughs in the real world. Don’t you wish you had that safety net? And since wishes are free, I wish Congress would spend more time on the huge tax increases that will go into effect Jan 1, 2011 if they don’t hammer out their differences, finalize and make permanent the Bush tax cuts.