Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain

The Madcowness of King George
by Lee

I am as pro-business, pro-market a guy as any who have ever walked the face of the planet.  This quite often opens me up to unwarranted criticism from lefties as being “a tool of big business.” I don’t favor a single business.  It’s a good thing when companies go bankrupt, because those assets will be purchased by other companies who can put them to better, more efficient use.  Markets drive innovation, and innovation means progress. 

Note to lefties:  what I espouse does not make me a tool of big business.  People who support shit like this are tools of big business.

The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef.

But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.

The Agriculture Department regulates the test and argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.

This is as good a lesson in free market economics as I can think of.  A small company wants to increase its stature by offering a value-added service to its product, which in this case is testing all its meat for mad cow disease.  The big meat corporations know that this will probably resonate with customers, and the laws of the market ttell us that consumer demand will require them to test all their meat too.  So, what do the corporations do?  They go whine to politicians who they have bought and paid for and stifle the market forces which will in all likelihood require them to perform this same test.

End result:  innovation stifled, meat is less safe, and those huge checks the corporations gave to various politicians have been shown to be well worth it.  Liberals, please understand, this is not the free market at work.  This is the polar opposite of the free market.

Posted by Lee on 05/31/07 at 01:41 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 05/31/07 at 02:07 PM from United States

On what legal basis are the Bushies going to base this?  Will they craft a “Healthy Beef Initiative” making it illegal to test cows?  Just about the time I think “no reason to impeach this lame duck so late in the game” he comes up with another one.  The risk of Mad Cow is pretty low, but if a meat packer wants to voluntarily test cows for it, damn.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 02:59 PM from United States

Statistically, 100% inspection just adds cost without any benefit - in QC circles it is generally called “screening” and indicative of low quality and bad production processes.  If you can convert that extra cost into sales, then it is worth it.  Good marketing ploy as most people don’t understand mathmatics worth a crap.

While 1% testing might seem very low, it is statistically valid as long as certain conditions are met.  If done properly, by someone versed in Quality Engineering, it is more than sufficient.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 03:11 PM from United States

I’m going to play devil’s advocate with Seattle Outcast here, and say that Creekstone Farms sounds like they’re just using a gimic, that sounds good on the surface, but provides no added value. It’s a lot like the term “organic foods”, in that it really doesn’t mean anything.

You will probably have to pay more for beef from Creekstone farms, and it is probably not the same quality as some of their competitors. If that’s the case, then the gimic won’t work.

If the larger companies don’t believe it is necessary to test more than 1% of their product, then they should publish website information explaining why it is unnecessary. If they can’t provide an explanation, then I say to hell with them, let’s go with the new guys.

Posted by Miguelito on 05/31/07 at 03:58 PM from United States

If the larger companies don’t believe it is necessary to test more than 1% of their product, then they should publish website information explaining why it is unnecessary. If they can’t provide an explanation, then I say to hell with them, let’s go with the new guys.

Problem is, there are far too many people out there that would never spend the time to read such info, or wouldn’t comprehend it even if they did.  The quick sound-bite of “100% tested” wins over common sense.

Just like “organic” has proven to be a hell of a marketing scheme.  Even Vons is prominently displaying a lot of organic produce at their stores (local to me anyway) such that you have to pay attention to make sure you’re not getting it (and paying more) when looking for produce.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 04:00 PM from United Kingdom

There are certain industries where government has a role to play in prevention of monopoly powers (generally the natural monopolies). In a lot of other cases, it is government interference that helps generate these powers in the first place.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 04:01 PM from United States

The point being that They should be able to do it if they want. 
Not if it’s a good idea or not.
Yet another law....for christ sake, let them do do it, gimmick or not.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 04:23 PM from United States

The big meat corporations know that this will probably resonate with customers, and the laws of the market tell us that consumer demand will require them to test all their meat too. 

And as soon as this happens, and the price of beef goes up accordingly, consumers will demand government investigations into the “price-gouging” going on in the beef industry. Everyone wants government intervention when they think it’s going to cost them personally.

(Regardless though...let Creekstone test it all if that floats their boat. It’s their meat; they can do what they want with it.)

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 04:28 PM from United States

Or, Creekstone farms CLAIM they’ve tested all the beef, but really don’t test them and gain market advantage by the BIG LIE, in addition to charging more for the “testing” and making a safer product, knowing that if they get caught it will be a slap fine, by comparison to the millions they would have made by claiming they tested all animals.

Nothing aimed at you Lee, but we have to recognize that just like we say “oh, THAT liberal media!” we also have to say, “Oh THAT BIG business!” Esp. when we have a pretty good idea that the “test all animals” approach probably won’t ber put into practice.  But, what the consumers pay for will be!.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 04:30 PM from United States

OK, now that I’ve made a serious remark, can I say it?  Dare I write it?

OOOOOH, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 05:10 PM from United States

Lee, I ditched this site about 6 months ago because of the Bush bashing and I perceived racism.

I’m here eating Humble pie. This bastard is a fascist fucktard. He’s letting huge fucking corporations make the bureaucratic laws.

And you’re right about the fucking torture issue too. Damnit.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

This damn immigration bill finally brought me around.

Did you see the post office rate restructuring? Both NRO and The Nation came out against it. WTF. Same shit.

Oh, btw. Remember when Clinton said “The end of the era of big government”. Yeah, this is what that bastard had in mind also.

American Liberty is in danger.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 05:23 PM from United States

The point being that They should be able to do it if they want.
Not if it’s a good idea or not.
Yet another law....for christ sake, let them do do it, gimmick or not.

That’s what I was trying to say.  If they want to roll the dice go for it.  There have only been 3 cases of mad cow in the US so far.  I, myself, wouldn’t pay more for 100% tested for mad cow ...

It’s like people running around all henny penny over the guy with TB.  Sure, he has a very very bad illness and he showed incredibly poor judgment, but it isn’t very likely that anyone will catch it from him on a plane.  If I had flown at all those days, I’d wait 10 weeks and go get the damn screening test and be done with it.  It costs 20 bucks ...

Posted by Jason on 05/31/07 at 07:11 PM from United States

I also tend to agree with Lee on this.  How do you take your meat, Lee?  Ever been to Ted’s of Beverly Hills Steakhouse?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/31/07 at 07:58 PM from United States

I guess Bush just wants to make it as easy as possible for the next Democratic president to nannystate to their heart’s content…

Jeebus on a stick, this administration is making Forrest Gump look like Albert Einstein.

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 08:04 PM from United States

WVR, I fail to see the Nanny State here.  The NS would require that all beef be tested at all packing plants.

I don’t really know what to call this other than fascist ...

Posted by on 05/31/07 at 08:16 PM from United States

I also tend to agree with Lee on this.  How do you take your meat, Lee?  Ever been to Ted’s of Beverly Hills Steakhouse?

At Ted’s of Beverly Hills we want to put our meat in your mouth!

God I miss that show.

Posted by on 06/01/07 at 01:44 AM from United States

As long as 1% testing is done in the U.S. and whole herds are pretty much destroyed once mad cow is found, the chances of catching the disease is extremely low.  That being said, if a meatpacker wants to test all thier beef, I say good for them.  The government has no business telling them no.
As far as craig1’s comments on organic produce, dude you couldn’t be more wrong.  I am a farmer who grows organically.  Some of the stuff they do to increase production and lower costs in conventional farming would turn your stomach away from produce forever.  Our farm is in the process of getting our organic certification, and if you read the CFR regs, and looked at the requirements and inspections that are farm has to go thru to get certified, you would totally understand why the organic produce sells for more.

Posted by on 06/01/07 at 02:43 AM from Japan

I have to respond to this as US beef is an important issue here in Japan. The japanese gov. lifted the ban and the meat can be sold in Japan now. But no one will buy it. And no supermarkets will carry it.  A HUGE majority of Japanese people refuse to eat US beef. I have talked to many many people about this and they say even if it was 100% cheaper than Japanese beef they still would not eat it. They eat Japanese beef which has actually had cases of Mad Cow but Japan started a complete testing for all domestic beef so the people FEEL that domestic beef is safe. If the USA said they would test 100% of their beef the Japanese people would buy it without hesitation. But no testing, no eating. And the US beef industry is losing BILLIONS of dollars a year. Crazy.

Posted by on 06/01/07 at 08:09 AM from United States

Ted’s of Beverly Hills Steakhouse

Ted’s, come on dow-ow-own.

Posted by Jason on 06/01/07 at 05:41 PM from United States

Good news, people.  You may be hearing more from Ted Bell on the 25th of June… Phil is coming back to radio

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