Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Next Target: The Family Farm

Now that the country has been saved by our benevolent President and our excellent collection of congressional miracle workers, I can get back to pointing out how difficult it will be to ever cut the expanding growth of government when it continues to assume an ever larger role in making sure the rest of us behave properly.

With each added government advancement into our private lives not only does government grow larger and more expensive, but the private sector, which pays all of the taxes in this country to begin with, is forced to operate more inefficiently. This inefficiency makes profitability and wealth creation more difficult and reduces the amount of tax that can be paid back to the government. These tax losses have to be made up somehow...perhaps higher tax rates?

Such trivialities are of no concern to a government that has already assumed that it has providence. The Constitution notwithstanding, with clever usage of the commerce clause, the general welfare clause, and outright dismissal of the 10th Amendment, bureaucrats and regulators have wormed their way into every facet of our lives.

While Michelle Obama grows turnips in the White House lawn, a resident of Oak Park, Michigan is prosecuted for growing inappropriate vegetables in front of her more modest home. Just a county north of there, a cider mill operator is in trouble with the regulators who feel it inappropriate for the proprietor to sell firewood alongside his fruit and donuts.

In Georgia, residents are prosecuted for selling vegetables grown on their property without obtaining the proper licensing, and little girls are threatened with prosecution for selling lemonade and girl scout cookies without the blessing of inspectors. While Amish farmers are prosecuted for selling raw milk in Pennsylvania, farmers everywhere are told to begin treating their spilled milk as hazardous waste. (Truly farmers these days do have a real reason to cry over spilled milk.)

Of course, once all the hurdles of producing food are cleared, those who market and sell the food must clear a number of additional hurdles put in place. If you happen to be a packager and seller of walnuts, you had better make certain not to make health claims on the packaging, even though those claims have been confirmed by numerous laboratory studies--doing so will run afoul of the FDA.

If you happen to be a fast food producer you had better make certain to advertise your products in a manner that doesn't appear to make your food too fun to eat. If you happen to own a restaurant you'd better watch the salt content, proudly display nutritional information, and make certain not to serve fat people. Heck, if you have a kid attending a certain school in the Chicago area, don't even bother to send a sack lunch--it is assumed to be unhealthy and just butt out, thank you.

None of these examples could have an impact on the ability of a family farmer, gardener, distributor, restauranteur or entrepreneur to make a living, could they? None of them could affect the price of food being sold to consumers, could they?

I'm not even going to get into the Department of Energy's fingerprints being all over the whole ethanol disaster and why that has affected prices and every American's cost of living.

We have to be close to the end of this regulatory mess, don't we? I mean, seriously, aren't the EPA, the FDA, and the DOE sufficiently involved into everything already?

Well, no, as it turns out. There is still the Department of Transportation that is suggesting a reclassification of all farm equipment to that of Commercial Motor Vehicles and requiring all operators of the equipment to get the proper licensing.

The change would prohibit family farms from using young workers to operate a tractor who are not old enough to drive a car on public streets; the same applies to seniors who are unable to drive on public streets.

Likewise, those who do operate the tractor would be forced to undergo advanced testing and fill out the same paperwork that is required of those who drive semi-tractor trailers.

The changes would ultimately infringe upon the operation of family farms by imposing loads of paperwork, such as detailed logs to be kept by all drivers, and regulations, which include a physical and drug test to be administered every two years on all drivers.
As the choke hold on American wealth producers tightens, the wealth the country depends on to pay its bills and feed and clothe its population gets more difficult to obtain.

Except for high paid regulators, that is. Its always nice to be on top.

h/t Protein Wisdom

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