Skip to comments.Tea Party Caucus Takes $1 Billion In Earmarks
Posted on 12/02/2010 10:11:37 AM PST by worst-case scenario
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There's a lot of that going around these days. Rumor, conjecture, and inuendo are taken as gospel because it's on the internet; and people go bannanas!
“The only problem with your preference is the question of whop decides what agencies are useless? How is the useless designation determined?”
Start with the assumption that if it’s not related to Defense/National Security (what the states are not directly responsible for) that it’s useless- (and even there do audits for waste, etc). Leave it up to the agency to prove otherwise- after a massive top-to-bottom audit. If it is determined to be “useful” after that time, then leave the bare minimum employees and funding necessary, etc.
Essentially, the people will decide through their elected representatives.
Actually, the official Tea Party Caucusin the house has been in existence since last summer.
Having her speak directly to those already going astray would help.
Qbert, it sounds like you’ve been thinking about this. When you say that the agency would have to “prove otherwise”, who would they be proving it *to*? The President or his/her representatives? Houses of Congress?
Take an agency like the FDA. (Being from NJ, home of the pharmaceutical industry, it’s often on my mind.) Since the Pure Food and Drug Act, it’s grown tremendously. It’s in charge of regulating over $1 trillion worth of consumer goods every year. It’s budget is a bit more than $2 billion this fiscal year. The amount is approved by Congress.
Now, some people say that it may that the FDA takes too long for approvals; it regulates too much, or not enough; it’s underfunded, over-funded, etc. Every time another 3,000 people are sickened by tomatoes from Mexico served by a fast=food firm, the demand for “more funding to the FDA!” for inspectors goes up.
Is the FDA part of the defense of the nation? (How do you define “defense” and how it’s protected - just the military?) Is it Constitutional? These aren’t questions that an audit will answer. If it’s proven - to whomever - that the agency is still useful, how would your determine what is the “bare minimum employees and funding necessary” to fulfill their mission? How would we tell that they hadn’t gotten *enough* funding - when people got sick or died from a product or a food?
If the FDA is found to be unconstitutional, what happens then - its duties are all spun off to the individual States? I was actually shocked when I read the number of offices the FDA handle:
* Office of the Commissioner
* Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
* Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH)
o Office of the Center Director
o Office of Communication, Education, and Radiation Programs
o Office of Compliance
o Office of Device Evaluation
o Office of In Vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation and Safety
o Office of Management Operations
o Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories
o Office of Surveillance and Biometrics
* Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)
o Office of the Center Director
+ Advisory Committee Staff
+ Controlled Substance Staff
o Office of Compliance
+ Division of Compliance Risk Management and Surveillance
+ Division of Manufacturing and Product Quality
+ Division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance
+ Division of Scientific Investigations
o Office of Medical Policy
+ Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications8
o Office of New Drugs
o Office of Nonprescription Products
o Office of Oncology Drug Products
+ Radioactive Drug Research Committee (RDRC) Program
o Office of Pharmaceutical Science
+ Office of Biotechnology Products
+ Office of Generic Drugs
+ Office of New Drug Quality Assessment
+ Office of Testing and Research
# Division of Applied Pharmacology Research
# Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis
# Division of Product Quality Research
* Informatics and Computational Safety Analysis Staff (ICSAS)
o Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology (formerly Office of Drug Safety)
o Office of Translational Sciences23
+ Office of Biostatistics
+ Office of Clinical Pharmacology
# Pharmacometrics Staff
o Division of Drug Information
+ FDA Pharmacy Student Experiential Program
o Botanical Review Team
o Maternal Health Team
* Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
* Center for Tobacco Products
* Center for Veterinary Medicine
* National Center for Toxicological Research
* Office of Regulatory Affairs
Does each state handle all these responsibilities itself in order to keep its citizens safe? Who decides that some of the offices aren’t important anymore? Can citizens sue their states if the state decides to not duplicate a dismantled Federal program, and someone gets hurt? What kind of a cost burden will this put on the States, as well as hiring demands?
Then there is the entire question of varying standards between states. What if NJ’s drugs are made honestly with no dangerous additives, and checked by NJ inspectors. Those from a nearby state are not - but are much cheaper. That’s a huge opportunity for smuggling and organized crime right there - importing in cheaper stuff and selling it as the good. Counterfeit drugs are a huge problem already. What happens if you have 50 different competing statutes? It’s the same with food.
Frankly I can see why they went for the razzle-dazzle of the symbolic gesture. It’s a hell of a lot easier to turn down an earmark than it will be to close even *one* agency - at least politically. They don’t see the upside to it when it comes to getting donations or re-elected.
“When you say that the agency would have to prove otherwise, who would they be proving it *to*? The President or his/her representatives? Houses of Congress?”
—The House- they control their budgets.
“Is the FDA part of the defense of the nation? (How do you define defense and how its protected - just the military?) Is it Constitutional? These arent questions that an audit will answer. If its proven - to whomever - that the agency is still useful, how would your determine what is the bare minimum employees and funding necessary to fulfill their mission?”
—This feels like a lot of evasion to avoid a basic issue: what if the audit (as I expect it would) uncovers a lot of waste? Wouldn’t we want to eliminate it first- and then deal with secondary issues of definitions? We have quarterly reports on public companies that provide necessary info to the public, as well as the company itself. Why can’t we similar reports for the various agencies? Granted, it’s slightly different in a regulatory environment, but there are much tougher standards that can be developed to monitor employees.
“Is it Constitutional?”
—Why does this question matter in this context? Congress essentially assumes the laws it passes are constitutional (i.e. Obamacare) until the courts rule otherwise.
“Take an agency like the FDA. (Being from NJ, home of the pharmaceutical industry, its often on my mind.) Since the Pure Food and Drug Act, its grown tremendously. Its in charge of regulating over $1 trillion worth of consumer goods every year...Now, some people say that it may that the FDA takes too long for approvals; it regulates too much, or not enough; its underfunded, over-funded, etc. Every time another 3,000 people are sickened by tomatoes from Mexico served by a fast=food firm, the demand for more funding to the FDA! for inspectors goes up.”
—Every time I bring this issue up, the other person always responds with the FDA example to shield the other agencies from discussion. Okay, let’s say the FDA would likely easily pass my utility test...can the same be said for agencies dealing with non-extreme cases of people getting sick/dying, etc.? How about the Dept. of Education? Education is a responsibility of the states- why do we need this Dept? How about HUD?
The basic underlying problem with the way that many people view the various agencies is that they assume simply because something is federalized, that it is somehow representative of the best approach, and that bigger is better. Now in some areas- scientific tests, food safety, etc., bigger likely is better; but in a lot of areas things are much more subjective and open to interpretation.
And to many Constitutional scholars, the correct approach is to allow the states to experiment in many of these areas. The assumption that states will simply cut corners because they have less resources to work with is inherently flawed, IMO because it ignores ingenuity and it neglects the fact that states that develop sound regulatory practices will have a premium built into services and products from their states. Other states can similarly adopt successful standards and practices.
Right. The way I look at it is, if something is important enough to spend money on, it should be introduced as a stand alone bill and have the entire body debate it then vote it up or down. That’s what the tax payers are paying those bozos for.
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