8:00 PM EDT, July 6, 2011
With the debt ceiling and budget talks in Washington taking center stage you would think mature adults in positions of power would do the right things. Oh, wait a minute. Doing the right thing really isn’t a priority in Washington anymore. It is all about getting either re-elected or getting your party back in power.
Take budget cuts for instance. There are so many areas where we can make substantial cuts that will have an impact without changing anything, but they won’t go there because of the political backwash. But they will go to a lot of places to make cuts that will have no impact on the big picture in order to satisfy big business interests that will happily donate gobs of money to their campaigns.
Here is the biggest joke I have seen so far. The House has voted to end funding for the Microbiological Data Program. What is that you say? The MDP is the ONLY program that regularly screens U.S fruits and vegetables for E-coli. By the way the same E-coli that caused a deadly outbreak in Germany just a few weeks ago. And how much are we saving by cutting this program? Four and a half million dollars. That amount does not even rise to a blip on the screen when it comes to the federal budget.
We blow that much every day before noon in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the FDA the work of the MBD has triggered nine recalls of potentially dangerous or deadly food. And that is the problem. By doing its job the MDP has really ticked off the powerful commercial produce industry, which would be more than happy to donate to the campaigns of its newfound friends.
Those friends (according to the vote tally) are mostly Republicans in the house, but there is plenty of blame to spread around. The big business interests sent a memo to President Obama’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack with their list of complaints. He did nothing to put them down.
You can complain all you want about the budget and big government, but when it comes to spending our tax dollars wisely I want mine spent on programs that are looking out for our best interests.
This is just one of them.
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