Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We Shall No Longer Live In Fear Of Diabolical Riboflavin-rich Breakfast Products

Last month, I blogged on a frightening new report which found that "the federal government will need to hire nearly 600,000 people for all positions over President Obama's four years -- increasing the current workforce by nearly one-third."  As you can imagine, the prospects of this massive expansion of government left me less-than-thrilled.  But at the time, the report also left unanswered one critical question: "What on earth will those new government workers be doing?"

Well, now we know, courtesy of today's Washington Post:
The Obama administration is taking on Cheerios. And popular cold remedies and swimming pool drains and rhinestones on children's clothing.

With much of Washington focused on efforts to revamp the health-care system and address climate change, a handful of Obama appointees have been quietly exercising their power over the trappings of daily life. They 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.

Top appointees at the Food and Drug Administration, for example, have cracked down on dietary supplements with "steroid-like" substances that for years had been sold in gyms and health-food stores. In a move designed as much for symbolism as effect, the new chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission dispatched all 100 agency inspectors across the country last month to enforce a law that requires special drains on swimming pools to prevent children from entrapment. The agency shut down more than 200 pools.

The new regulators display a passion for rules and a belief that government must protect the public from dangers lurking at home and on the job -- one more way the new White House is reworking the relationship between government and business.

"In the Bush administration, the problem was that the political folks were hostile to the mission," said Michael A. Livermore, executive director of the Institute for the Study of Regulation at New York University Law School. "We've already seen the new direction of this White House play out in other regulatory aspects -- the Environmental Protection Agency and financial regulation. With the consumer protection agencies, you're going to see a lot more stuff happening because they fit Obama's broad vision for government."
That's right, folks.  In the face of crippling budget deficits, 10% unemployment, two wars, a deflating dollar, increasing protectionism and a host of other awesome things, the United States Government is dramatically expanding in order to staff armies of federal agents and battle the scourges that are your swimming pools, breakfast cereals, vitamins, cold remedies, snack nuts, children's clothing, ATVs, and un-ergonomic computer keyboards.  (And that's just the ones listed in the WaPo article.)

I don't know about you, but I find this to be such a relief.  I was really worried that my Kashi GoLean Crunch (I'm such a yupster doofus) was going to rise up and kill me in my sleep.  But now that I know that the folks who brought us the Post Office, the IRS, FEMA and Amtrak are on the case, I can rest easy.  Constitution - or economy - be damned!  This is cereal, people. CEREAL!  It must be stopped, and our President's "broad vision of government" is just the thing to do it.  

(Seriously, what the $%@&?!?!)

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