The US Is a Country, Not a Business

2016.9.28.DT.mainThe US has been sold off to the highest bidder, and until we repudiate the “free market” fundamentalism that has infected our public discourse, we’ll not get it back. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / truthout; Adapted: Thomas Hawk, Rob Shenk)The US is increasingly no longer a country; instead, we’re being run like a business, and in some cases, it’s literally killing us. Take for example, the ongoing problem of foodborne illnesses like Salmonella, which infects more than 1 million Americans every year.

One of the most common ways of contracting Salmonella is by eating eggs. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 79,000 people get sick every year from eating Salmonella-contaminated eggs, and of those 79,000 people, 30 actually die.

This is a type of preventable problem that pretty much doesn’t exist across the pond anymore. Ever since the United Kingdom started requiring chicken farmers to vaccinate their hens against Salmonella, reported cases of the disease have plummeted. There were almost 15,000 egg-related Salmonella cases in 1997, when the immunizations began; now there’s close to none.

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

The FDA actually considered implementing a similar vaccine mandate here in the US, but decided not to in 2010, basically because chicken farmers didn’t want to spend the extra money on the vaccines and they could buy lobbyists. This is what it looks like when your country ceases to become a country and becomes something else — a business, or maybe just another asset in a corporate portfolio.

How many lives could have been saved if the FDA had decided to look out for the public first and Big Ag second? How many costly emergency room trips could have been prevented? How many recalls avoided? We’ll never know for sure.

With Reaganomics came the idea that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. But this mantra is the source of many things wrong with this country. By waging war on government, which they call…

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