It has recently come to my attention that our President hates Capitalism, and actively works against the health of the American people. I’m not terribly surprised, however, after all if he doesn’t respect fundamental liberties, what does he respect? Bribes from big business is about all I can come up with. His recent position on quashing innovation in the meat packing industry seems only to confirm this.
Our story begins with Creekstone Farms, a small Kansas producer of beef. The beef production and meatpacking business is a tough world to compete in, especially with the huge corporate businesses that rule the roost. Rather than accepting a role as the low producer on the totem pole, the owners of Creekstone Farms resorted to good old American ingenuity and the application of capitalist principles. As the USDA currently only mandates testing of 1% of all cattle for Mad Cow Disease, an infectious prion that has caused a number of recent scares, Creekstone Farms decided to invest the capital into building testing facilities for all of their cattle so that they could offer a 100% Mad Cow free guarantee to consumers and thus increase their competitive edge. They invested over half a million dollars in extensive testing facilities, and were ready to launch their new innovative plan, but they hit a problem. The US Government refused to allow them to purchase additional testing equipment to outfit the already built laboratory.
The culprit isn’t a law against buying additional testing equipment, nor was it a shortage of the kits. No, the shadowy movers behind this decision was none other than big business advocacy groups. They even admitted to pressuring the USDA into withholding additional testing kits. The president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (a non-governmental advocacy group put together by the big players in meat packing) went so far as to say,
If testing is allowed at Creekstone, we think it would become the international standard and the domestic standard, too.
Let me translate this out of lobbyist speak into plain English for you,
Oh no! Everybody panic! The consumers might like a higher quality product more than ours and we might have to cut into our profits!
Creekstone took the issue to federal court, where in March a judge ruled that the US Government had no right to deny the additional testing kits to Creekstone. This decision is currently being appealed, which led to the Bush administration’s announcement that it would fight to keep Creekstone from testing more than 1% of its cows. Now tell me, why does President Bush hate Capitalism? More importantly why does he hate the health of the American people?
It isn’t like the other meatpacking businesses have a right to make a profit. Like all companies they only have a right to try to make a profit, but if people would rather buy someone else’s product, oh well, that is the free market for you. Innovate or die, as they say. The core of this issue is that capitalism and ingenuity have been cornerstones of the American economy for literally centuries. Our market is such that it rewards those who are willing to spend the time and the money on new ideas which pan out. Those companies that don’t innovate and keep with the times fall by the way side, supplanted by smarter companies offering a product more people are willing to buy.
All Creekstone is doing is banking an initial $0.5 million, and a $0.10 per pound price increase on their beef, on the fact that Americans will pay for higher levels of testing and safety on their beef. If they are wrong, Creekstone will lose big time, but if they are right, prosperity will shine on them, just like it has other innovators in other eras. It’s just too bad that the Bush administration would rather line its pockets with ill gotten gains, than stand up for the American way.