As you've no doubt heard, a recent salmonella outbreak in eggs sickened more than 1,300 people and led to a recall of half a billion eggs. Why wasn't the government doing more to prevent this kind of thing?
Well, here's a clue, in an article from 2007:
The federal agency that's been front and center in warning the public about tainted spinach and contaminated peanut butter is conducting just half the food safety inspections it did three years ago.
The cuts by the Food and Drug Administration come despite a barrage of high-profile food recalls.
"We have a food safety crisis on the horizon," said Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.
Between 2003 and 2006, FDA food safety inspections dropped 47 percent, according to a database analysis of federal records by The Associated Press.
That's small-government conservatism in action. According to one recent study, 5,000 Americans die every year because of food-borne illnesses, and the total cost of treating those illnesses is $152 billion.
Think about that the next time someone talks to you about getting government off your back.
-- Paul Waldman