We can’t look at the news without seeing examples of What’s Wrong with the World Today. Face Palm Example 1, entitled “FDA Accepts Public Comments on Emergency Shortages Data Collection System” reads in part:
Many medical devices are essential products to the patients who use them. If the supply of these devices were interrupted—in the case of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earth quake, for example—lives would be at stake. To prevent such scenarios from becoming reality, FDA created the Emergency Medical Device Shortages Program Survey. Developed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the survey is intended to allow FDA to collect data on domestic inventory, manufacturing capabilities, distribution plans, and raw material constraints for medical devices that would be in high demand or vulnerable to shortages if a disaster or emergency would strike or certain regulatory actions were taken.
Because in a crisis, obviously we could all rest easier knowing that a massive, slow-moving, inflexible federal bureaucracy is ready to take total control of all aspects of the supply chain for everything important.
The only better way to assure that shortages will occur would be to establish price controls to prevent “gouging.” Gouging occurs when anyone pays what something in short supply is actually worth. Don’t worry, though, price controls will be the natural, first response of the FDA.
Closing question: What do you suppose they mean by “if … certain regulatory actions were taken” in that quote?
Meanwhile, over at The Nation, Jeff Madrick provides Example 2, as he wonders, “Can Americans Trust Government Again?“
Contrary to what we hear from Republicans, America did not lose its way in the past few years. It lost its way a generation ago when it abandoned its faith in government.
Conventional wisdom has it that come November the 2012 presidential election will be determined by the state of the economy. Actually, the real battle will be over a much older fundamental ideological issue in American politics: what role government should play in shaping our future. This special issue of The Nation is dedicated to bringing the debate about government front and center as the presidential race heats up.
Because in his view, it’s not that the government consistently fails the basic tests of competency in practically everything it attempts. It’s not that appetite for new government programs, regulations, and rules is boundless. The problem is that people growing disgusted with the overreach and looking at the results have lost faith. If we just give the government more control over every private decision, we’ll reach Utopia. You Gotta Believe!
Nonetheless we wish them well in bringing this issue to the forefront of the presidential race. I sincerely hope these two competing visions are a major part of the debate, because they are the root of our political disagreements.