New York Time columnist Paul Krugman went out on a limb and ate a salad the other day. The former Enron adviser said, “These are anxious days at the lunch table. For all you know, there may be E. coli on your spinach, salmonella in your peanut butter and melamine in your pet’s food and, because it was in the feed, in your chicken sandwich.
Who’s responsible for the new fear of eating? Some blame globalization; some blame food-producing corporations; some blame the Bush administration. But I blame Milton Friedman.”
Krugman blames Milton Friedman because Friedman once called for the abolition of both the food and drug sides of the FDA explaining that it is in the self-interest of pharmaceutical and food companies to not market products that may be harmful. One would think that an economist would understand that profit from sales is the major factor that keeps a company in business. If General Foods and the Campbell Soup Company start distributing products that kill people, they will soon be out of business.
Not surprisingly, Krugman believes the answer lies in more governmental regulation.
Krugman does not the lay whole blame of his fear of eating at Milton Friedman’s feet. Krugman can not write a column that does not blame Bush for something and this spiel is no different. “Without question, America’s food safety system has degenerated… [S]ince 2001 the F.D.A. has introduced no significant new food safety regulations…” he further moans. This statement would seem to imply that before Bush took office in 2001, the food safety system was just fine in Krugman’s view. Which begs the question; if it was fine and 2001 and no food safety regulations have been repealed, then how did it manage to degenerate? Krugman does not say.