The Wash Post reports on burgeoning efforts by the Obama administration to butt into even more aspects of everyday life and treat us all as if we have the brainpower of Joe Biden. "A handful of Obama appointees," writes the Post, "are awakening a vast regulatory apparatus with authority over nearly every U.S. workplace, 15,000 consumer products, and most items found in kitchen pantries and medicine cabinets."
Near the top of the list? The dread menace of Cheerios, the burp-inducing breakfast cereal that lies (lies!) about its crunchety goodness and heart-helping properties. Or at least needs to run clinical studies on more unwilling children:
FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg and deputy Joshua M. Sharfstein—both with backgrounds running public health agencies—notified General Mills that it was violating the law with its two-year-old marketing campaign that said Cheerios can lower cholesterol by 4 percent. The FDA said the company was essentially making a drug claim, which would require clinical studies and agency approval before a product is put on the market. The food giant has removed that claim from its Web site and a spokeswoman said it is in discussions with the FDA.
While the FDA began looking into Cheerios before Obama's election, several lawyers who represent food and drugmakers said they think the agency under Bush would never have taken action against General Mills.
And God bless pistachio nuts? No, god damn pistachio nuts!
In June, Sharfstein defied pistachio producers and told the nation to stop eating the nuts out of concern over potential salmonella contamination, even though no illnesses had been reported and just one company was involved.
Note that the proposed regulatory buttinskyism extends far beyond foodstuffs into all manner of basic banking practices, workplace rules, you name it. The potential savior of nanny-stateism run amok? Cass Sunstein, the head of the Office of the Office of Information and Regulatory Policy and the so-called Regulatory Czar, who was somewhat controversial as an appointee:
The regulators still face significant hurdles if they want to dramatically expand government's reach. Most proposed regulations have to be vetted by a central White House office headed by another new appointee, Cass R. Sunstein, whose embrace of cost-benefit analyses may mean he will discourage expensive new rules. Some efforts to expand regulation are sure to face legal challenges from industry. And the private sector is likely to assert that new regulations would be an additional burden in a weak economy.
Light a candle for Czar Sunstein. Read the whole article which is frustrating and depressing, and as predictable as those bad cartoons about Obama's Nobel Prize win. Hope and Change = Treating Us Even More Like Children.
Watch a libertarian defense of Sunstein by George Mason University's Frank Buckley.